Monday, January 25, 2016

Hong Kong 2015

My first trip through Matta Fair. I could say it ended up a lot cheaper this way and I really got blessed along the way. For approximately MYR 1500 per person, we got a 3 night stay in a reasonably spacious hotel called Casa Deluxe (upgraded due to a miscalculation on the part of the tour agent) in Yau Ma Tei area, 1 night stay in Disneyland hotel with Mickey breakfast and the ticket for the theme park, including all matters of transportation to/fro airport and to Disneyland. We also had a half day tour which I found a waste of time but had to go on to get our free ticket to Madame Tussaud.

If you have arrived here hoping for a detailed itinerary, you won't get it. However, there was this really awesome place for steamed milk and custard that I loved to heaven and back. The name of this humble establishment is Yee Shun Dairy Company. And for the love of being blessed, it was a few shops away from our hotel. The ginger milk pudding was so silky smooth I could eat it everyday. But it is very pricey.

In fact, I would safely say that if nothing else, you won't have trouble at all with food in Hong Kong. Eat anywhere, at any corner seriously and it can't go far wrong. But then again I am Cantonese.

There were 3 highlights I would say about our trip.

First was street walking. We literally walked one day after lunch from Tsim Sha Tsui, pass our hotel, browsing through Ladies Market, the street with lots of pets, pass Flower Street and in to Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. And then walked back to Prince Edward station to Sham Sui Po and did another round of walking and shopping around Fuk Wing Street. Fuk Wing Street is 'the' street in that area for all your childhood dreams. It is seriously very much cheaper. And we ended up buying toys, imitation lego and stationery. I loved the Hello Kitty and Little Dream Star stationery there!!!

Second was Victoria Peak. We didn't go in the evening since we had kids with us and didn't want to brave the crowd. We went early in the morning instead, when the line was short. But the China people seriously, they come any time!!! Overall it was relaxing to be up there, walk around, enjoy the scenery. We had loads of fun in Madame Tussaud as well posing with all the waxed figures.

Third and definitely not least was Disneland. We were there from 11 to about 8. But we were so tired and cold and wet by 8 that we didn't stay for the fireworks. We saw it from our hotel instead. better than nothing. But I would say Disneyland was fun for the rides. Waiting time was short, we deduced it was because the rides themselves were not long. The kids had great fun, even Caylee who had a scare in one of the rides and adamantly refused any more of those rides that looked scary after that. While waiting, she had her share of posing and jumping. Her highlight was the final Frozen show before dinner where she got to see Elsa and Anna!

We also went to the Citygate Outlets. The one and only time we shopped. It had crazy sales.

All in all, I would say it was a very memorable trip. I reckon the cool weather really helps. I was very proud of Christopher for walking so much and not complaining. And the girl was happy to spend the afternoons in the hotel with grandma. We had friends in Hong Kong to bring us around a day or two which was really swell, cause they had a car.

I would say that the streets in Hong Kong are a pleasure to be lost in. In fact Hong Kong island is still my preferable walking destination compared to the mainland. Perhaps the old and new collide in the island in so many more ways. It leaves a nostalgic feel, almost warm despite the cold. I will definitely return to Hong Kong. If for nothing else, the steamed milk pudding with warm ginger syrup.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Seeking perfection

It all started out quite normally.

An intrusion in my area of work.
A sarcastic reaction on my part.
A I-don't-care-why-do-I-never-learn remark.
A sigh.
A silence.
A I-should-not-have-reacted-way-but-please-don't-intrude statement.
More silence.
A sigh.
Accompanied by a resigned acceptance.

So, I was thinking about it on my way back home. And I realized that I always react badly to this individual when she oversteps her boundaries.

We have some differences in character that cry out so boldly if we just let it continue to scream, people will need to close their ears. And yet, we are sometimes so similar in thought process, I wish not to know what she is thinking cause it's so eerily similar.

I realized actually almost as soon as the event was over that I had reacted badly. And I told myself my reaction is really a reflection of what God needs to change in my life. I always teach my kids to stop and ask themselves "What would Jesus do?" and so i asked myself the same.

We always work towards being like Jesus. Doing what is right. Acting rightly instead of reacting badly. If we were to, in our lifetime, reach the status of being like Jesus, that would count as perfection. This was what went through in my mind.

Then the word perfection stood out in the middle of my semi-concentration driving state of mind in blink! blink! What was perfection like?

And then God gave me a great teachable moment.

Perfection did not mean that everyone will love you. When you reach there, it would not mean that people will stop hurting you. Neither would it mean that you would say everything right for everyone. It's a minuet realization that perfection to God means more people might curse you and hate you. Troubles will come wave after wave upon you. Things around you will fail and sorrows will abound.

And James 1: 2 came into remembrance "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds"

So, seek not that nothing affects you. Seek not that everyone loves you for all the right things that you say. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

And so I remain thankful for every circumstance. Although seriously, I felt really awful at the time it happened !

Monday, September 7, 2015

We got ourselves Rylee

I have been mulling over this idea for months.
Even up to the point of us going to our destination, my mind was still asking the question, "Am I asking for trouble?"

As we parked our car, I felt a sense of excitement. All anxiety pushed aside for a moment.

We approached the area. I heard them before I saw them.
I was walking with hubby and the kids ran ahead.
I knew they were behind this partition that was blocking our sight.

Then they came into sight.
And the first one we saw, a light brown and white girl, caught our attention at once.
Straight away hubby and I agreed she was the one!
(Although we later only found out it was a she.)

The kids were super duper excited.
I had taught my son how to approach a dog since he loved dogs so much.
My girl lessor so. She just follows what kor-kor does.

As we studied the 2 pens that held some 9 of them, our hearts started to gravitate towards another fella.

Pen 1 had 5 of them at age around 7 weeks.
Pen 2 had 4 of them at age around 4 months.

I scarcely had a look at Pen 1. Probably since all of them were sleeping.
And they seemed rather too small.

Pen 2 held the girl we loved initially.
But as we tried to approach her, she cringed away and even barred her teeth.
I also realized looking at the 4 of them that every time she moved, her brother moved with her.
I asked the MDDB lady about it.
She related the incident of how their mum was abused by a shop owner in Shah Alam.
And how the brother saw the mum die in front of them due to starvation.
So, the little brother is a little traumatized and have thus gravitated towards his sister for care.

Given I had 2 kids, I did not want a dog who would have personality issues.
My son, trying to approach and pet the puppies, started to love another girl.
I watched and saw that she was the friendliest of the lot.
When my son placed his hand tentatively near her, she would stretch out her head and smell him.
Up to the point where he could even pet her.

After some minutes of looking at other dogs, we decided to get her.
We paid the adoption fee of RM50 and RM100 for her previous vaccination.

Rylee is 4 months old. Rylee in the database of female dog names means Loyal Companion.
She is still fearful of many things as it stands now.
But there are moments when her puppiness breaks through and she gallops around.
She barks and her bark is quite loud.
Hopefully we will not have trouble with her barking.

2nd day today and I didn't have much issue cleaning up her poo and pee.
She poos in one specific place. And pees in the same area.
So, it's 3 areas specifically...where her ball is, where her poo and pee are and finally where her food bowl is.
We put her in a play pen currently and cover up one area for her to cuddle beneath.

The only grouch currently is that she loves to upset her water bowl too often.
Perhaps coz she is bored.
So we end up having to fill up her water bowl very often and drying up her area.

Other than that, I love her to bits!
I don't find cleaning her a chore, more of moments to play with her.
I am sure she will be a joy to the family.
My heart overwhelms with care for my little girl Rylee.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Focus on God and from the out flowing of love comes....

When you first start to read this post, the title I had given would seem way off....but hold on to your horses and read on.

So, it all started out with a colleague of mine telling me at my last-5-working-minutes that her son did something she was so proud of. That she made the best decision in the world by sending him to this religious kindergarten near her house.

Since we were both 5 minutes away from clocking off, she left it at that.

All the way home, I thought of what she said. Part of me wondered what filial or honorable thing her son did as a result of religious teaching from ages 4-6. And as usual I wondered too about my religious teachings to my son when he was that age. In my opinion, there seemed to be nothing much my son did that would make me exclaim the way she did!

We are from a Christian home. The kindergarten her son went to was a Buddhist school. I cannot say she is Buddhist since they do not really practise any Buddhist customs to the letter. And driving home, I began to analyse how a Christian home is different from a Buddhist home to affect a kid at that tender age.

Now, at ages 4-6, I have already begun teaching my son about God. Reading Bible stories was a norm. Teaching him Godly values and doing all that church has to offer - worship, prayer, Bible reading and even tithing.

From what I hear about the Buddhist kindy, her son has been taught to wash the feet of his parents, served them meals, performed acts of love and kindness in their school to their parents, involved themselves in recycling projects and even abstained from meat.

And then I saw it! As a Christian parent, my religious teaching to my son is always about God. What God did, Who God is and the whole story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. I reckon in all my teachings to him, I may have only mentioned honor thy mother and father 3 times!

But it would seem, from what I hear about the Buddhist kindy, is an emphasis on being filial, respecting your parents, and love for the environment. In fact the emphasis on respect, love and being filial is heavily drummed in their eyes and ears and minds.

While I focus upward, it would seem their focus is horizontal. Nothing wrong in that. In fact washing the feet of your parents is the most touching, heartfelt emotion a parent and child can have. And not all Christian homes develop the greatest kids either. Everything does depend on the execution.

However, I did realize this one thing, and that is the upward focus of Christian teaching. And if God helps us to do it well, then from the out flowing of love to God and from God, honoring thy mother and father is a lesson taught as it is.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Parenting by example but are we making a difference to the world?

There are 2 points that I know in my mind and parents can usually agree on.

1) We should parent by example AND
2) We don't need our kids to be brilliant and rich. Instead we would like to see them happy and capable to make a difference in their world.

But can we and do we link these 2 conditions together? We want them to be happy, are we? And more importantly we want them to make a difference in their world, but are we doing the same? The latter question being the crux of the matter.

Or are we caught up in the endless cycle of making a living for the sole purpose of elevating our lifestyle and creating a safety net for our kids?

There are 2 aspects to this from the people I see and know around me.

The first is easier so I shall mention that first. The parents themselves don't see the need to make any difference to the world. And even if they do, since every one has a conscience, they do so through means of once-in-a-while charity or recycling. What I have in mind when I talk about making a difference is in our everyday lives. Forever and always considering love for thy neighbor.

But the excuse behind this would be - I don't even have sufficient time to get my own house in order, what more love my neighbor. Truthfully, it does not take much effort to love thy neighbor. It just takes a determined action to divert some time and effort from self pleasure. In other words, our sole purpose should not be in purely elevating our lifestyle but to live a life of sufficiency.

The second aspect is the concept of a safety net. We work hard to earn sufficient savings, for a rainy day, so to speak. But savings are never sufficient. It's very much like losing weight, once you start and feel elated with the results, it becomes an endless cycle of requirement, counting, increasing the limitations.

So much so, love to thy neighbor becomes a calculated action. Sometimes even an action that subconsciously demands something in return. After all, we need to take care of ourselves. If we don't do that, who will?

But living in God's kingdom seems contradictory to the 2 aspects and excuses we think of. Living in God's kingdom is not all about leaving it up tot God. He never told us to live our lives that way. But He did command us to love our neighbor, sometimes even more than ourselves. Not that we should suffer in their stead. But in right sense to consider the needs of our neighbor and not only our own.

If I want to take it a little further, I should ask myself: How can I make a difference to my world? Will the difference I intend to make be a positive example for my kids?

But I do know that if we live a white mice wheel of stagnant running in that circle that goes no where, this will also be the live that they will turn out to lead. In my case, always working for safety, never working for the now.

Food for thought.....