Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Traffic Jam

I came up with a list of things I can do while stuck in super-congested KL traffic, going at 0.05km/hr. All input are welcome.

1. Practice singing (when speed is reduced to 0km/hr, can even refer to the scores)
2. Dry-clean my face (with facial tissues)
3. Apply lip-balm (can't drink too much water, while stuck in the middle of nowhere without toilet)
4. Have dinner (limited to sandwiches only)
5. Exercise my eyeballs (roll up, roll down, roll left etc.)
6. Think about what next I will post on Ahem!
7. ... ... ... (will add if I think of another)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Story of The Old Woman

There was a family of a man, his wife, three children and an old woman. They moved to a new neighbourhood and the family next door consisted of a both-working couple and their two little girls. Knowing that the two little girls were sent to day-care while their parents were at work, the old woman approached their mother.

She offered to babysit the girls, for a little income for herself.

The little girls' mother was surprised, for why would a grandmother of three want work? Shouldn't she be sufficiently occupied and contented taking care of her own grandchildren?

The three children were not her grandchildren, she explained. The family she was living with was not her own. She began her story.

She was a Ma Jie - a maiden maid, sworn to celibacy, who lived a life of servitude. Since she'd never married, she never had any real family. She, however, adopted a little baby girl whom she loved, clothed, fed and educated. Her adopted daughter was the only family she had in the world. In her effort to provide a comfortable home and life for herself and her daughter, she spent her entire life-savings on a house. She had then, both family and home - she thought she would be happy till the end of her life.

The girl grew to be an independent young woman. The independent young woman soon had herself a high-flying career and a husband. She informed her mother that she wanted to relocate, and asked her mother to come with her. Let her sell the house, she told her mother, and they can all move away together.

The old woman, with no reason to doubt the girl she had nurtured since infancy, gave authority to her daughter to sell her only property, and resigned to look forward to the care-free life she expected to soon enjoy. It would never come. The young woman, having obtained the money from the sale of her mother's house, went away with her husband, leaving the old woman behind, alone and destitute.

Alone and destitute she was, until a kind family with three children took pity on her and took her in. They treated her with so much kindness, like she was one of their own, for nothing, she felt quite overwhelmed. She wished to be a little less dependent, financially, in the least, which was the reason she asked to babysit the neighbour's little girls.

She had tears in her eyes as she concluded her story.

What you have read isn't fiction, though I am wholly unable to account for the accuracy of the details. I simply know this story, and happen to be in the mood for telling it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favourite Pastime

In the darkened room, on the floor, my legs folded upon each other, I close my eyes. I bring my attention and focus onto my breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

"Inhale... 1, 2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause."

The teacher's voice is quiet and steady, and I let it guide my breathing. The soothing music playing in the background is soft and lulling. I focus on the breathing and the teacher's voice.

"Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause. Inhale... 1, 2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2... *zzzzz* ...2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause. Inhale... *zzzzz* ... to your normal breathing..."

Oh dear. We're done with the breathing exercise. I open my eyes. We get to our feet, and start the Sun Salutation sequence of poses. We do our Warriors and a handful of other upright poses.

"Now, lie down on your mats. Fold your right leg..."

I am on my mat, I follow closely the verbal instructions of my teacher, and move into the pose. I feel tolerably comfortable, though folded and twisted like a pretzel.

"Stay, and take a few long and deep breaths..."


"... to your right, push yourselves up with both hands..."

Wait, what about folding the left leg? Gosh, they've done it already?

I sit up with the rest of the classes, and proceed to half a dozen more poses.

"Lie down to your Savasana. Relax your whole body, drop your feet......"


"Hey, wake up!"

I hear Big Eye's voice, and feel her nudge my shoulder. I open my eyes, and look around. I see all my classmates sitting upright, in Lotus.

People say Yoga is great for relaxation. I agree whole-heartedly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Old Joke

I believe these have been around for some time. However, being old don't make them less funny.

This is a list of comments from test papers, essays, etc., submitted to science and health teachers by elementary, junior high, high school, and college students: It is truly astonishing what weird science our young scholars can create under the pressures of time and grades. The spellings are the original ones.

1. H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water.

2. To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.

3. When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide.

4. Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is water and gin.

5. A super saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold.

6. Liter: A nest of young puppies.

7. Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat.

8. Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away.

9. Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives.

10. Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.

11. The pistol of the flower is its only protection against insects.

12. A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.

13. To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose.

14. For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower that the heart until the heart stops.

15. For head colds: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat.

16. Germinate: To become a naturalized German.

17. The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

18. Blood flows down one leg and up the the other.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Story of the Phoneless

One day, a couple of weeks ago, by the time I was on my way to work, my phone was still snugly tucked in bed. I was without phone for a day, and it seemed a big deal. Ten years ago, mobile phones were not common, most of us didn't have one, and it was no big deal. Nobody felt it was a great inconvenience to be without a phone. I personally didn't think using public phones were troublesome, or prohibitive. Without the convenience of a 'phonebook' feature in a mobile, I could pull at least 20 of the most-dialed numbers from memory - yes, my own memory. I digress - these all have not much to do with the story I mean to tell.

It was a day in 1997 - a day still in the times of public buses, public phones, and dial-up Internet connections, sans blogs, Twitter or any other forms of social-networking.

One of our housemates, Ms K, had gone out to meet a 'friend' of hers, who'd travelled all the way from their hometown to see her. 'Friend', because they both felt more than friends do for each other, and yet were too shy to officially call themselves girlfriend and boyfriend. Yes, in those days, young people were cute in that way. This 'friend' was known to us housemates as Mr Nevermind, because his standard response, when he called and Ms K wasn't in and we asked who it was on the line, was always "Errr... nevermind!"

Ms K was to meet Mr Nevermind in a public place. A little while after their appointed time to rendezvous, she called the apartment from a public phone - she couldn't see Mr Nevermind, and couldn't find him, so if he were to call, could we let him know of her location, which she then described to us. Perhaps it was a pre-agreed contingency plan, perhaps it was telepathy - he called, also from a public phone, some minutes later. We conveyed to him Ms K's message. A quarter of an hour later, she called again. She hadn't found him - or he hadn't found her - and a new message was given to us to be given to him. Then he called, got her message, and left a message with us for her for if she called again.

Both had gotten considerably anxious by that time, and all of us housemates had stopped whatever we were doing, and were crowding around the phone, breathlessly waiting for the next ring. Well, yes - students always have nothing better to do, it's true.

The calls kept coming - she, then he, then she again, then he once more. It was already past an hour since they were supposed to meet. We suspected that while they kept updating us on their latest locations and search efforts, by the time one got the message, the other one had moved on, vice-versa. On her second last call to the apartment, a housemate reprimanded -

"He's looking for you, and you're looking for him! You're both circling the place! STOP where you are and describe clearly your location..."

Yes, pretty fierce, but it worked. The directions were conveyed to him on his next call, and the next call we got was from them - they had found each other! It took well over an hour, but they found each other! How we cheered! We were so happy and relieved that we spent, I believe, another hour or so talking about how harrowing it must had been for them, and how much sweeter it made the reunion, and how much more precious it made their time together.

Those were the days. You might want to take a moment now to appreciate the power of communication that you have today.

Interesting Read

A friend shared this with me:

Why I am Not a Professor

I absolutely adore the article, and the person who wrote it, even though he implied that the likes of me haven't "a grain of sense".