Monday, April 30, 2012

Another birthday in the family!

Richard's elder sister's birthday is on 30 April, so we stayed back in Malaysia for the celebration this year. There was a simple cake-cutting ceremony on Sunday, 29 April. As usual, the honour of blowing out the candles goes to the toddlers. In this family that means Ryan.

The next day, Margaret's hubby, Jimmy, arranged a dinner for the family at Fuzion in Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel, which was also supposed to be a surprise for Margaret. Here's Margaret and Jimmy.

And once again, here's Ryan doing the important task of blowing out the candle!

Happy birthday Margaret!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An ordinary day

We slept in today and woke up to the sound of drilling and hammering in the unit above ours. We decided not to linger any longer and so we hopped into the car and started our day. Drove into KL, where we had lunch at the evergreen Yut Kee.

Yut Kee is famous for many dishes, including the pork chops, which Richard orders every single time we go there.

I ordered the pork ginger rice, which comes drowned in gravy.

We then drove over to our apartment in KL (which has been leased out) to meet up with the rental agent and to pay some bills. Lounged around the covered pool a bit.

A couple more errands, and we then made our way to Margaret's house. Here's Ryan in the car, studying the brochure for one of the showflats he visited yesterday - wonder whether he thinks it's a good buy or not?

Anyway, there wasn't much else to our day. We had dinner - our must-have Ipoh Kuay Teow with Chicken and Beansprouts at Jalan Gasing - then it was back home to wind down.

Oh, yes, let me post a photo of my new haircut! This was taken yesterday, I'm in the dress I wore to Richard's dad's birthday dinner. The curls are temporary and will disappear once I wash them out, but I do like them!

The photo was taken in a toilet, which reminds me of a poster I saw that had a fairly old man saying, "Back in my time, toilets were for taking a sh#t in, not for taking photos!"

Hope you had a good day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Celebrating a 76th

We celebrated Richard's dad's 76th birthday today, with a dinner for about 40 guests. 

Ryan had fun playing with the favours - little pink ceramic dragons. Each guest had one, and through many donations, he soon amassed a small army!

Earlier in the day, after lunch with Richard's parents and Justin (Richard's nephew), I went to get my hair done in Bangsar while Richard took Ryan and some of the family to see some showflats. I couldn't get an appointment with Shawn Loong at Shawn Cutler (they were closed for three days for their company trip). After my second choice also fizzled out (they were also closed), I went to a third salon nearby, where I was attended to by a man with black round rimmed spectacles and a tuft of bright red hair in the middle of his otherwise bald head. He did a wonderful job, and I was very pleased with the result. I'm quite happy to forgo Shawn Cutler on my next trip!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back in Malaysia

We are back in Malaysia! We have friends and family to see and catch up with, a couple of birthdays to celebrate, and some errands to run - looking forward to all of it!

We left Singapore after Ryan's Shichida class yesterday - Ryan was so happy in class, cheerful and enthusiastic about all the games. He even got a star in his observation book for "participation"!

We arrived in time to freshen up before going out to have dinner with friends - Terri, Vincent and Kar Yee - at Jaya 33. Had a great time chatting and catching up on various things. Terri and Vincent had just come back from a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, while Kar Yee is busy with decorating her new abode. After dinner, we thought of going to visit some relatives, but realised that we were too pooped, so we went straight home. Ryan was far from pooped though - he kept Richard up till 1.30 am (I surrendered earlier).

Today, we started with lunch at Antipodean in Bangsar. It's the sort of place that has the menu written in chalk on the wall, where you can get all-day breakfast.

This is the all-day breakfast. Don't you think that the amount of mushrooms is insane? They cover a quarter of the plate! All of us (Richard, my brother and I) ordered this and all of us were defeated by the mushrooms. We could barely finish half of them.

There is a tiny play area where Ryan hung out with some other children, playing with foam letters and plastic airplanes. I was pleased to see that he handled everything with care, especially the airplanes which were quite fragile - the wings were not fastened on securely so they would have fallen off with rough handling.

The bill came up to nearly a hundred bucks - no matter how often I come back to Malaysia, I still find myself having to make that mental adjustment when I see price tags. The figures are so much bigger!

I wanted to get a haircut at Shawn Cutler but it was closed for their company trip. We went instead to check out a showflat - yes, we are property hunting again!

Went home after that but there was some noisy renovation going on in the unit above us so we went over to Margaret's place for a while. Left about 8 pm and that was more or less our day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Visit to the Dentist

Ryan went to see the dentist for the very first time on 2 April 2012, just before we went to Hong Kong.

I was getting a little concerned that we should get him checked out at the dentist because we have been lax with brushing his teeth. Although Ryan does join in when we brush our teeth, I know that he doesn't brush properly (most of the time he is chewing on the toothbrush) and he doesn't get right to the teeth at the back of the mouth. We should help him but we don't because he doesn't like having people sticking things in his mouth. So we just let him be. Our priority is for him to enjoy the session so that at least he is brushing, even if it's not done right.

Anyway, I was getting a little concerned so I decided to get him to the dentist for a checkup. The visit started out well - the dentist seemed to be very good with children. (She said she has a 2 year old daughter.) She got Ryan interested in playing with her gloves and got him relaxed. She did make one wrong move though, by trying to get Ryan to open his mouth before he was ready, and from then on, Ryan refused to open his mouth for her. The dentist wasn't surprised - she did tell us at the start that she might not get to check his teeth at all at this first session. She didn't try to force him, she said it's more important not to scare him or to make it unpleasant for him. I was glad to hear that.

Although Ryan refused to let the dentist inspect his teeth, she did manage to get a look at his front teeth because Ryan was singing his ABCs throughout the session. The dentist said that they look fine. 

She asked and we told her that Ryan does not take sweets or sweet drinks, apart from the occasional sip from our drinks. And Ryan drinks a lot of plain water. The dentist was pleased with that and said all that helps. The back teeth suffer mainly from sweets and sweet drinks, while the front teeth suffer mainly from the milk and from sucking on the bottle. So, although she couldn't see the back teeth, Ryan should have no problems there. His front teeth look fine, probably because they get a good rinse everytime he drinks plain water (which is very often).

The only concern was the sucking on the bottle. She said that, at this age, he should be weaned off the bottle (she didn't say anything about weaning off the breast, haha). The best is to use the cup, the next best is to use a straw. This is because the muscles and the muscle movements that are involved when sucking from the bottle are different from those used when sucking through a straw or drinking from a cup, so it's better to wean off the bottle for the sake of proper muscle development. (There is some concern that the front teeth may grow at a funny angle but she said this is not really a big concern because it only happens in severe cases.). We're supposed to go back in about six months to see her again. 

She did give us some general tips and advice:

1. Ryan should have 20 baby teeth now - 10 on top and 10 below.
2. Ryan must brush twice a day (after breakfast and after the last latch). He will need help from an adult until he is around 8 years old (simply because a child below that age is not developmentally capable of doing it properly - reaching to the back, etc). If he is not receptive to a toothbrush, she suggested trying a finger brush or even just some wet gauze. 
3. Toothpaste - it's fine to brush with or without toothpaste at this stage. Use toothpaste if he can gargle and if using toothpaste, make sure that it contains fluoride.
4. Time to wean him off the bottle for the sake of proper muscle development.
5. Maintain a suitable diet (what Ryan is doing now is good).

Interesting thing was that, as we left, she told Ryan that he was a "very very smart boy". I don't know why exactly she said it, perhaps it was because of all the songs that Ryan was singing. Anyway, she was pretty good with children, even if she couldn't win Ryan over on the first try (not many people can), so we're going to stick with her.

I'm relieved to know that Ryan is fine for now. We will be making more of an effort to get Ryan to adopt proper brushing technique and, hopefully, he'll continue to have strong and healthy teeth and gums.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ryan Kinect-ing with his cousins

Here's a Youtube video (1:13 minutes) of Ryan playing Kinect with his cousin, Malcolm. You can't see Malcolm in the video - he's standing behind controlling the green stickman in the game. Ryan comes by and dances around between the screen and Malcolm - perhaps Ryan thinks that the game is a dancing game!

Ryan has so much fun playing this game that his cousins put it on specially for his sake. This was filmed in Malaysia two or three trips ago. Now, whenever the Playstation or the XBox is activated, Ryan will start waving his hands around no matter what game is on!

The other boy that you see in the background is Justin, another of Ryan's cousins. He is making a small "house" for Ryan.

Here's looking through Richard's eyes! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Walk away

Richard and I recently walked away from a friendship. This couple had been telling other people untruths and spreading malicious comments about me, while pretending that we were friends. They accepted our friendship and all that we did for them, while they went around saying negative things about me behind my back.

I considered my options thoroughly and carefully. My first choice was to confront them, but it would be pointless. An apology would be nice, but unlikely. Should I hope to change their opinion? Even if they did, the trust is no longer there, the sense of betrayal and hurt is too deep, and it would be incredibly awkward for both sides to even try to carry on after a confrontation of this sort.

Or I could forget it and leave it be. Not many things bother Richard and me, really, so was this worth getting upset about? Well, I wasn't raging mad but I knew I could not reasonably ask my family to continue with this farce. Although my dear husband would go along with whatever I decided, I realised the extent of what I would be asking of him because Richard and I take friendship very seriously. Once you are a friend of ours, we will gladly walk to the ends of the earth for you. In fact, we have, on many occasions, gone out of our way for this couple while refraining from telling them the trouble we went through. I could not ask my family to continue investing our hearts in this friendship if this couple was regularly backstabbing us. It would also be hypocritical of us to carry on being their friends when every fibre of our being would be on high alert and suspicious, when we had to consider every word and every action to see whether it would give them cause for painting me black.

So I did the next best thing. I decided to end the “friendship” unilaterally and quietly. Richard had no hesitation in telling me it was the right thing to do. He was just waiting for me to come to terms with the inevitable. In our hearts, we wished things could be different but our heads told us that things would never change with them. So we resolved to cut them out of our lives. We quietly walked out and away. We wish this couple the very best in their life. We're just not going to be part of it anymore.

And yes, I have put a record of it here. So that my children will understand that, inasmuch as Richard and I hope that they will grow up with kindness and generosity in their hearts, free of prejudice, with an open mind and a clear head, ready to forgive and forget, we want them also to realise a few other things.

- That words have power, words can hurt. That you must not only act responsibly, you must also speak responsibly. There are always consequences.

- That kindness and consideration to others encompass what you say about them, both in their presence and when they're not with you.

- That what you say about others, tells more about you and the person you are.

- That you should walk away from friendships that are unreal. Life is short - surround yourself with genuine, sincere and honest people.

- That friends don’t go around talking behind your back, trying to turn people against you, using untruths and unfair assumptions.

- That loyalty is a big part of friendship.

- That every friendship and every relationship has to have an equal balance of goodwill. That you need to give AND receive goodwill.

- That you should never, ever, let others make you feel embarrassed about your successes. Nobody should make you feel that you don’t deserve all that you worked honestly to achieve. A person who cares about you will cheer for you instead of undermine you. Don't sell yourself short.

- That you need to stand up for yourself, and be fair, honest and honourable in the process.

- That the truth will always emerge, so make sure that you are always on the right side of it.

It is unpleasant to end a friendship, even one that is unreal. The best we can do is to make sure that we handle it in the best way possible and learn what we can from the experience.

The highlight of our Saturday was an outing to watch a musical performed by The Little Company (a division of SRT). It was the Three Little Pigs! 

We went with friends - Ryan was happy to be reunited with his pals Brayden and Rou Ern. Ryan was very interested in what was happening onstage and the 45 minutes passed quickly. After the show, we went for lunch nearby. Once the children satisfied their tummies, they trooped out to the fountain and had a glorious time splashing about together.

The mummies exchanged lots of gifts! I was really touched by all the effort and thought put into the items that they brought for Ryan. He is so fortunate to receive such love and kindness! On our part, Richard and I brought some gifts for Brayden and Rou Ern from our recent Hong Kong trip. I also brought the Keaton Coat that I sewed for Rou Ern and this little boy-vest for Brayden, which I sewed up the night before, using a pattern I found on the internet.

Again, the button isn't actually sewn on yet, because I wanted to get it measured on Brayden first. Shann graciously said that her mother could help to sew the buttonhole for this too so I passed both clothing items to her.

The rest of our Saturday was less exciting. We went home and I finally succumbed to a nap. Ryan napped too, from about 5 to 9 pm. He was full of energy after that and stayed up till 4 am! We skipped his swimming class the next morning, waking up only in time for lunch before Shichida class.

Here's Ryan, waiting for class to start. He's playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on a little keyboard on Richard's iPhone.

And yes, he is wearing a Superman top. It even has a cape! Ryan wore it the entire day.

Hope your weekend was fun!

On the morning of my birthday, I crept out of bed, looked back at my two sleeping loves, and felt a great sense of having been blessed. We were in a (very) small hotel room in Hong Kong and I was on the verge of falling sick, but we were together and we were happy. It was then that I noticed the heart shape formed by the pillows and the duvet - a wonderful sign of the love that we share - and I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. Even if our plans turned out badly, we would have each other to share the experience with, we would laugh about it together and we would learn from it together. I didn't need anything more.

As described in yesterday's post, we spent the most of the day at Ocean Park. By the evening, I was well and truly down with a cold. Our original intention was to go up to the Peak for dinner but Richard was concerned that we would end up staying out too late and that it would be too much for me. With me being sick, it might be too cold for me up there and I really should be getting an early night. I was a little reluctant to cancel our plans. Richard and I have been up at the Peak before but I was looking forward to giving Ryan the experience of going up on the tram, especially as he had enjoyed the cable car ride at Ocean Park so much. In the end, I accepted that Richard was talking sense and so we went to a popular Cantonese restaurant near our hotel, highly recommended for many of its dishes. The place is called Tso Choi (10 Jordan Road).

Here's a photo of the birthday girl at her birthday dinner!

The star of the evening was not me though - it was this dish! Braised pork on a bed of preserved vegetables. The pork comes with some seriously yummy fat, or would it be more accurate to say that the fat came with some pork? Even though I typically don't eat the fatty portion, I could not walk away without trying at least one (or two?) fatty slices. Heavenly. 

Here's a shot of Ryan, doing his usual construction activities at the table. This time, instead of making letters, he was making patterns.

Next morning, it was off to Sweet Dynasty for breakfast.

Then we hopped over to Harbour City where we picked up some books and clothes and sat down at Starbucks for a breather. I was tired, having had a rough night battling with my leaking nose, but Ryan was going strong.

I was nevertheless determined to make the most of our last two hours so I asked Richard to take us to IFC Mall for more shopping, although we didn't buy anything there. Anyway, that was the end of our frolicking. We went back to the hotel to wait for the transfer to the airport and, after a long wait for our delayed flight, stepped back onto Singapore soil in the wee morning hours on Tuesday. 

We spent most of our third day in Hong Kong at Ocean Park. We weren't sure how to get there at first, but it turned out to be pretty convenient - take the MTR to Admiralty Station, where there is a mini-bus interchange for direct buses to Ocean Park. You can even buy your park admission tickets at the station.

The first thing we did was to have (an early) lunch. We went to Neptune's Restaurant at the Grand Aquarium, which turned out to be a good decision because we had an unobstructed view of the main tank in the Grand Aquarium. The restaurant is located one floor above where the public viewing area is.

After a relaxing and quiet meal, we ventured out and joined in the queue to go into the Grand Aquarium. That was our introduction to the theme for the rest of our day - the queue was massively long (although constantly moving) and the crowd was extremely heavy. Walking around inside the Grand Aquarium (which is a larger version of Sentosa's Underwater World), we saw more people than underwater life. Most of the time, we couldn't get close enough to the viewing areas to see anything because of all the people. Ryan lost interest quickly.

After we got out, we walked up the hill towards the carousel and joined the long queue. Unfortunately, at this point, Ryan was feeling tired and hungry, so we didn't make it onto the carousel. Instead, I carried him while we joined yet another long queue, this time for the cable car ride up to the headland. After he had some rest plus some biscuits, Ryan was all cheery again and ready for the ride, which turned out to be his favourite part of the outing. He was all smiles, excited and happy.

The ride is about 1.5 km, and the four lines of cable cars go quite quickly. There are spectacular views from the cable car, including views of the bays, the surrounding islands and as far as the South China Sea. It was quite windy when we were there - Ryan kept getting his hair in his eyes! He's due for a haircut!

There are lots of rides at the summit, including a large roller-coaster, plus a few exhibits. The main attraction, however, is the Sea Dreams show.

Before the show begins, a live band entertains the crowd. The show itself is pretty basic - dolphins and seals - but nevertheless, still a crowd-pleaser.

After the show, we decided to call it a day and go back into the city to freshen up for dinner. Took the cable car down and made our way back the way we came - via the bus to Admiralty Station and the MTR back to our hotel.

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