Liberate thy soul

When Tito was hospitalized, she still nursed her kittens even though she was in great pain. And she fell ill when two of her kittens, Schpecky and Skippy were stolen. And even with the remaining Eka, who is quite a teenage kitten and almost going to be as big as her, she still licks Eka as though that is her newborn kitten.

The day before yesterday, on Twitterland, the image of the long tail macaque monkey who adopted a kitten in Bali was fast and furiously tweeted and retweeted. And why not, as it is indeed a remarkable sight. Pictures can be viewed here

Hence excuse my disbelief when I woke up yesterday morning to the news that in Shah Alam, a baby was found in a paper bag, wrapped in a piece of cloth and hung onto a signboard? Like if animals can be so merciful to their young and the young of others, what on earth are these supposedly civilized creatures of our planet doing to these innocent babies?

I had written a Merdeka day post here  some time ago, in praise of this place which I had called home for a few years already. But of late, I am beginning to feel restless here, the very place I adamantly defended in the face of many a mockery sessions by outsiders who couldn’t see the beauty of this place as I had. However, in recent times due to many occasions and incidences (such as the above), many things are reaffirming the worrying social state this country is in. I guess, in the words of Malcom Gladwell, I may have  reached the tipping point.

Hence my wish for Malaysia’s Merdeka day this year is for the country to be veered away from going down into the gutters– socially and politically. For the social ills of the country to be solved from the roots, for the ills of innocent babies being thrown to be stopped and for naked capitalism to stop dividing the rich and the poor further than the already existing large gap.

Despite the disappointments I may personally feel, I stand by my grounds that this is indeed a God given beautiful country with beautiful people. However, more often than not, the beautiful people of this land are either standing helplessly watching this country being brutally raped socially, environmentally, politically and academically and/or are the rapists themselves and/or are too divided for personal gains and glory to push away their own differences to move together as a nation.

And that, I feel is such a pity, for a country with so much potential as this one.

Selamat Hari Merdeka to all Malaysians.

p.s If Tunku is given 24 hours to come back tomorrow to see the state of affairs Malaysia is in right now, I really wonder what would his post-mortem comment on the current state of affairs would be.

Teach Less, Learn More

I used to think that it’s the coldness that makes them brilliant, since there is nothing much to do… but now we know… it’s their stress free system that makes the Finnish eager learners, free from achievement pressure.
Hence they are able to produce thinkers and not muggers like where I used to teach.

Grün

Of late, I have been wishing that I am a full Australian citizen with the ability to vote in this year’s election. Because since 1 vote does make a difference, I would like mine to go to the Green Party and support their efforts in garnering politics towards environmental causes, away from the tiring ‘same ole same ole’ issues, amongst other cynical things. They are not only exhausting, but would deem irrelevant if the one earth we all are sharing is dying a horrible death.

On that note, we found the perfect school for our kids, if only we have any. Said to be the most natural school on earth, The Green School provides education in the most basic and natural environment as possible, teaching the kids sustainability in every aspect of living from the toilet habits to classroom teaching to living habits.

Image taken from here.

There were other schools which caught our attention in Europe, especially the naturschuler in Germany and Sweden, whereby kindergarten classes are held in the forest regardless of season and weather. We have also seen several schools in Jakarta adopting this nature school concept called Sekolah Alam, whereby 70% of the syllabus are carried out outdoors in nature.

However, none of them, in our opinion measures up to the Green School. The rest just teach children on the importance of nature and conservation and hands on approach in learning about all things pertaining to nature. But this Green School impresses us because they teach children about sustainability and energy conservation and how to create a learning/living infrastructure which is in tandem with what our earth needs and in total respect of other creatures sharing this same planet we are all on.

It is a school I would very much love to teach in, but until the husband completes his contract with the current company AND if circumstances would permits us to even consider it as the next pitstop, I would just have to be contented in admiring it from far.

Plain Jane

It is certainly very different reading Jane Eyre as a college student of 17, dissecting the book for the exams, in oppose to reading it as a 30-something in leisure. But the most stark difference is that, at 17, with the social circle being predominantly just peers around the same age or just slightly older, the feeling of reading this very poignant classic is really the absence of its connection element. Jane , Rochester, St John and all the other characters in it are just, but fictional characters, in which our judgement, dissection, arguments for and upon them would ensure us getting the required grades we would need to pass the exams.

Image taken from here.

But as a 30 something and having had gone through some parts of life, career, travel, marriage etc, reading this awesome classic brought the reading experience to a different dimension altogether. At some parts, I connect with Jane and the feelings she had or situations she had to go through. On other parts, I recognised the Jane in some of the people I’ve met through life. And Rochester! Oh that Rochester… who have not met a man in life quite like Rochester? Self-absorbed, egoistic and yet, with self-esteem issues within him. And that bimbotic Miss Ingram, who was only in for the wealth and the stone cold but good looking St.John, I know one personally in my lifetime.

Earlier today I picked up a Vogue magazine, the US edition which featured Sarah Jessica Parker and all about her life. I read up the whole article, all the 6 pages of it and all her glamorous clothes and shoes and basically, her larger than life lifestyle. Strangely, when I read the article, I felt as though I was reading Jane Eyre when I was 17 and merely studying a fictional character. There was nothing in there about SJP which I could relate to and although she is as real as it she is in flesh, viewing her from my world makes her appear very fictional, unlike Jane.

There is a Jane in everyone that I know. She’s that plain, I reckon.

Wear and Tear

When I changed into my gi upon arrival at the dojo yesterday, I suddenly felt a bit gleeful when I noticed that the gi pants were not fitting anymore. It was loose. But my glee was short-lived and even put me in momentary dismay when I realised that it was not my own gi pants that I was wearing. It was my husband’s. False hope.. *sigh*

Anyway, when I went onto the mats to do my warming up, I suddenly panicked. I remembered this was the gi pants which I saw him stitch the other day because it tore in the middle, not unlike Aziz Sattar’s one when Pendekar Mustar was teaching them silat 101. His stitches were of course not strong enough and many a times during training, we sometimes caught the sight of his boxer shorts underneath, especially when he was doing the ukemi. So my panic was no unwarranted. It is Ramadan, and letting other dojo members have a sneak preview of what I have underneath is really not  flattering on their fasting souls.

Luckily he was my first ‘nage’ or sparring partner and I urgently whispered if he had sent this pants for proper machine sewing. He had, and I was relieved.

Permeation

I hope by tonight I can go back to perform the terawih, which I have been missing for 5 nights due to biological reasons. It is not a nice feeling to spend the nights of Ramadan alone at home, while everyone seems to be in a blissful gathering full of angels above, prostrating and invoking HIS name in a sea of divine love.

This Ramadan, the word ‘permeating‘ comes to mind. I came to notice that on our own, just the two of us, we were able to block out the permeating process (of  all things unnecessary) from coming in and affecting our Ramadan and the coming Eid celebrations. It would be too easy for the permeation process to happen say, had Ramadan been celebrated perhaps in my hometown. Permeation process would render it difficult for me to say no to the various iftar gatherings outside (which, due to permeating process, I would surely would want to go!), a walk down to bazaar Geylang, the overflowing of food from the neighbors and from my overindulging mother.

Eid wouldn’t be spared either. Permeation process would actually dictate that the curtains/cushions/and everything else visible to the visitor’s eyes be changed for something new. And just one set of new Eid clothings would not be enough. It would  even be ghastly in my mother’s eyes (apa? satu jer baju kurung untuk raya ni?!!) and an endless table spread of raya cookies which could put Joseph and his Technicolor dreamcoat to shame.

But thanks to being on our own, where we carefully make the effort to block out this permeating process from getting into us,we managed to cut down on many unnecessaries. No cooking for iftar, just eat at the mosque, whatever they serve– even though it’s nothing much. That’s minus the wastage of food and the effort in preparing them.  The husband sahur with simple things which didn’t take long to prepare. I don’t drive so I don’t fancy taking a cab to any bazaar Ramadans so I spend my time mostly at my home-office, tutoring/working/sleeping/reading.

There is no pressure about giving the house a make-over either. It is a rental, and most of our closest friends here are like-minded, and also living in rentals hence absolutely comfortable with our’ temporary existence here so we cannot be bothered‘ mentality. Eid clothes, we would always buy last minute, whatever nice enough we could grab.

In other words, in not allowing the permeating process gets into us, we get away with being ‘bo-chap’ with the whole physical aspect of the season, and just welcome it, as it is and perhaps as how it should be.

I could only do this while I am away. I know back home, I would welcome and readily accept this permeating process into my life with open arms, because I want it to happen– due to my own weakness of the flesh.

Indigestion

A vet is to us as what a pediatric is to normal parents. And yesterday is another visit to the vet yet again, this time for Milo.  He had been vomiting since two days ago and whatever he ate, came out an hour later, semi digested. On the first day, he simply let it out without warning. On the 2nd day, he actually tried to wake me up by pawing on my arms and face, trying to tell me that he was going to puke. But sleepy head me took a while to register what was happening and by the time I was well aware of my surroundings, he had already let it out on the bed near my leg, and looking at me with a face that said, ‘Well, I tried… but you slept like log..’

Ramadan tests came in means and ways, one of them being changing bed sheets stained with cat vomit, amongst other things.