Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's a good day

He said "Mummy!"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Curry night with the girls

The Place:
Khansama Tandoori Village at Biopolis
Fair dinkum schoolgirl plaid with a skinny red belt, black buckled flats (gotta get me some new heels!)
Shahi Paneer - We loves cottage cheese
Mushroom Mattar - We loves mushrooms
Butter Chicken - as creamy as it sounds
Kadhi Pokara -something cool and dairy to balance the spice
Naan breads and more naan breads
Teh Halia - kept me a-buzzing the whole evening. It's what happens when you don't drink caffienated drinks for a whole year.
Topics covered:
The ineptitude of inexperienced teachers
The rigidity of the education system at nursery level
Creativity and Discipline = mutually exclusive?
Inter-class wars and subterfuge
Punishing stupidity (i.e. don't break the rules if you are too stupid to be discreet)
The incredible success of schoolmates who were written off by teachers
The incredible career changes of former teachers
The incredible lack of comic timing in former teachers
Plastic surgery in the under-30 age group
Grooming habits of male housemates (or lack thereof)
Computer-based learning materials for children
Computer lessons for aged parents
Parents and Facebook
Laughs: LOTS

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shame on you

I used to enjoy visiting the local library back in the UK. It was very small - just a few stacks jammed into a tiny building - and the books were old and yellowed, but clean and crisp and in beautiful condition.

Occasionally, I could find forgotten tomes that had been out of circulation for years. It was like finding buried treasure.

A library book is a precious, precious object. It is shared, loved by many, and does not discriminate. It is a piece of history, a cherished heirloom, a valuable antique. As such, a library book should be cared for so that it can last a long time, long after newer editions are produced, long after the book goes out of print.

Since I started going to the local library with Stardust, I have noticed that the books here are in appalling condition, even the ones that are relatively new (that is, printed within the last year).

I hate to see books looking abused - dog-eared corners, torn sheets, brown water stains, mouldering food remnants, covers crisscrossed with foldlines and trimmed with fraying edges. Some of the more unfortunate volumes even have bloodstains on them or colourful graffiti across the pages.

Sometimes, the books appear to have received some medical attention in the form of hastily applied sticky tape which festoons the pages and leaves the print unreadable. Sometimes, the bookcover has been reattached with glue applied by an enthusiastic hand, such that it oozes over the pages of the book and binds the whole paperback together.

One would think that the mistreated books would tend to cluster in the children's section of the stacks, where they are mostly handled by the young and uncoordinated (and unsupervised). However, I have found that these sadly neglected manuscripts are to be found in all sections of the library.

Shame on you, whoever you are, wherever you are.

If you are a true bibliophile, a proud patron of the written arts, a reader of penned thoughts, then treat these documents well! Some of them were written before you were even a thought in your mother's head, so they should receive the respect due to those who are elderly and wise. We should be so lucky to have access to so much of the written word here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making tracks

Not sleeping well for 6 months = dark undereye circles

Sleeping late and waking early for 6 months = dark undereye circles

Sleeping early and waking early for 3 months = WHAT?! dark undereye circles still?! What the heck is this?! Go away go away go away go away! Why aren't they going away?

Realisation: Getting older = Dark undereye circles = p-p-permanant feature?

Result: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Growing a bookling

I have been reading to Stardust ever since he was a month old.

It started off as a good way to pass the time with him whilst teaching him to listen to sounds. I'm not the sort of mother who can hold a one-sided conversation all day long for I would certainly run out of things to say. So, I dug out some old children's books to read to him. Now, after more than a year, reading has become a habit.

Since then, Stardust has built up his own little collection of board books and cloth books. He has a few hardcover paper books on his shelf as well, but he is much too young to handle those carefully at the moment. He loves reading, and will sit quietly looking at a book on his own.

I realised that I should probably try to introduce him to a second language soon, before his language centres develop fully. Unfortunately, despite ten years of schooling, I can barely speak or read a single word of Mandarin Chinese. Isn't that appalling?

What is even more appalling is that, after visiting five different bookshops along the high street, I couldn't find any board books of nursery rhymes or simple songs for toddlers that were written in Mandarin. The only reading materials I could find were flashcards and assessment books - flimsy books of homework that are so popular amongst parents in Singapore. I even went to a huge bookshop in Bras Basah, and in the 3 levels of books, there was only one shelf of toddler board books. Not very good, I must say.

In the end, I decided to visit our local library - and there was an entire section dedicated to toddler board books. Hooray!

During his first visit to the library, Stardust was totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books in the library. He was so surprised, that he fell over backwards whilst looking up and up at the towering shelves, his mouth gaping.

Excitedly, he tried to pull out armfuls of books and bring them to me. He pulled out a shelf of books and stacked them in a pile. We had to spend quite a bit of time sorting out the books by call number and then returning them all back in the shelves. Stardust enthusiastically helped me replace the books, one by one.

Afterwards, I sternly explained to Stardust that he was not to pull out any more books unless I gave him permission to do so. The books were to remain on the shelves.

So, he walked around, touching the spines of the books and then pushing them all right to the back of the shelf.


I picked out a few Chinese nursery rhyme books for him, then we walked over to the English section. I let him pull out One Book Only, and together, we walked over to the children's reading corner.

There were lots of low plastic chairs and tables neatly arranged in the children's reading corner. Most of the seats were taken up by schoolkids who had come to study together and do their homework after school.

Stardust pulled out a chair for me and another one for himself, and we sat down to read. I read the book to him once, then Stardust tried reading the book back to me, pointing at the pictures and burbling along in a soft voice (we were in the library, so he was using his softest and most quiet voice).

I like it when he reads to me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fire all phasers!

Oh yes, oh yes, I went to watch the new Star Trek movie and it was not good at all - it was awesome! I wanna watch it again!
A good friend of mine won a pair of tickets to the gala premiere, and decided to take me to watch it instead of her clueless 'Oh, is that the same as Star Wars' husband. WOOHOO!
MDH sulked at first because we had agreed to see together. But he agreed that it was too good an offer (i.e. Free Movie) to pass up and told me that if Zachary Quinto or Simon Pegg happened to be present, I was allowed to throw my bra at them.
Isn't he liberal?
Well, we didn't meet any movie stars, but we did meet a group of cool fellers who were decked out in Star Trek regalia and carrying phasers. I managed to wheedle them into taking pictures with us - and one of them even let me pose with a his (obviously beloved) phaser, but only because I looked as if I made an effort to dress for the occasion.
Yes, I wore a Star Trek regulation insignia pin on the lapel of my dress, because I am Cool and With It. Can anyone guess what it is? I promise not to tell anyone what a nerdy Trekker you are.
As for the movie - I should think that it would probably irritate some of the more hardcore fans of the Original Series. However, it's the best Star Trek film I've seen since 'First Contact'. And it had the whole auditorium laughing and gasping at all the right moments.

Friday, May 08, 2009

In the garden

We were too lazy to go walking today, so we spent the afternoon relaxing in the garden.

Stardust kept himself very busy, weeding the lawn and looking for treasures. He would bend down and pluck at the grass whilst examining the ground intently. Then, suddenly, he would pick something up gently between thumb and forefinger and bring it to me, crowing with delight. A golden brown dried leaf here, a lacy dragonfly wing there, placed ever so carefully in my cupped hands.
Occasionally, he would pause and peer at his collection, making sure that I hadn't dropped anything. If a blade of grass or flower petal went missing, he would frown at me disapprovingly.
MDH spied the local calico cat slinking round the corner of the garden, carrying scraps from the kitchen in a most unladylike fashion. He followed her and found, nestling in a bed of dry straw underneath the rose bushes, a trio of tiny kittens curled up in a fuzzy mass.
Stardust fell in love with them at first sight and insisted on patrolling the rose bush and chasing away predators such as sparrows and grasshoppers. He wouldn't go off to nap until we assured him that the hotel manager would personally ensure the kittens' safety and wellbeing!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Forest ranging

Stardust loves viewing the world from the comfort of his carrier, riding high up on his dad's back. Occasionally, MDH will pause for a moment to watch a passing butterfly or listen to the whirring of the cicadas...and the impatient little passenger will pummel him between the shoulder blades urging him forwards.

After a while, of course, Stardust gets restless after sitting for too long and begins to wiggle around. Now that he's started walking, he likes to practice his skill whenever he gets the chance.
The forest floor is still muddy from last night's rainfall and Stardust's shoes aren't watertight, so we wander over to a path that is paved with lichen covered concrete slabs instead of leaf litter.
Down we go, slowly, slowly, one step at a time, singing all the way.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rainforest Walking

Wild orchids, stately in white and pink.
Scarlet veined pitcher plants hanging with ominously gaping mouths.
Pale green ferns, wet with dew.
Fronds of red and brown bracken curling up towards the sky.
Spiderhunter, streaking across the pathway in a flash of yellow.

Muddy leech, stretching its thin body sightlessly towards us, searching, seeking our warmth.



Tuesday, May 05, 2009


It's easy, waking up in the morning and watching the house martens swoop by the window, drawing wide circles in the air and returning to roost in the eaves.

It's easy, padding downstairs to the breakfast room to enjoy a deliciously greasy fry-up and a croissant.

It's easy, walking down the road to the start of the forest trail, with the baby sitting in a sling on my back.

It's easy, sitting in the garden at teatime lavishly applying clotted cream to a crumbly scone.

It's easy, leaning back on a cast iron chair, with a cup of tea and a book, breathing in the cool mountain air carrying the faint scent dewy forest ferns and mosses.

It's easy, watching Stardust as he purses his lips into a tiny pink rosebud, tasting the scone's buttery goodness.

It's easy, watching Stardust laughing with delight and spraying crumbs into his lap, my lap, MDH's lap and all over the verenda.

It's so easy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

No sweat

It was much, much too hot here last week. MDH managed to get a few days off work, so we disappeared off to the higher altitudes of the Titiwangsa mountain range of Peninsula Malaysia - to the tiny little hamlet of Bukit Fraser.

Yes, despite the warnings of a long drive and the poor structural quality of local hotels, we decided that it was time to bring Stardust to see Malaysia and the old glories of colonial living.
Stardust was reasonably well behaved during the long drive up - we left at 7am and managed to reach our hotel by 3:45pm, just in time for a cream tea and a well deserved nap for all the family.

In our room, with Stardust happily tucked away in his cot in the corner, MDH and I stretched out like two starfish in the enormous four-poster bed. "Do you hear that?", MDH whispered to me. "I don't hear anything at all," said I, "it's really peaceful here". MDH smiled happily and sighed, "It's the sound of No Air Con."

The view from our window

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