Sunday, 31 August 2008

Lost in translation

Lewis came in bringing books to his Nana and said, 'Nana, wee books pee!'

His Nana said, 'Oh dear, did you wee on your books?'

'No! Wee books!'

'Ok, darling. Let's go to the toilet and have a wee.' My mother-in-law said helpfully.

'No! wee books pee!' Lewis is annoyed this time.

I just had to intervene. 'Mum,' I said, 'Lewis said READ books PLEASE!'


At the health visitor's clinic for Lewis' second-year check up:

Lewis called me. 'Mummy, see daw!'

I didn't move. The nurse asked me, 'Is he talking in Filipino?'

I said, 'No, he's talking in English.'

The nurse was a bit confused. So I had to translate as usual.

He actually said, 'Mummy, sit down!'

Saturday, 30 August 2008

War at the home front

My mother-in-law said she was scared that K and I would have a big row at home. I told her we already did, although it was only small scale considering what happened.

My husband, by some sudden inspiration, went off to a shop and bought new curtains and wallpaper for our bedroom. When he got home, he said excitedly, 'Have a look at this!' He obviously expected a pleasant reaction from me but even before I saw what he bought, I was already fuming. My 5-year-old immediately run off to the other room seeing the smoke coming out of my ears. I said, 'No, I'm not bothered.' 'But why? Is it because I didn't let you come with me?' he asked, seemingly perplexed. I said, 'You can't just redecorate this bedroom without consulting me! This is my bedroom too!'

I walked off after throwing some threatening remarks. 'You put those curtains up and I'll move to the other bedroom!'

Later on, he apologised. Apparently, he realised that I would have been glad of the redecoration idea if only I'd been asked for an opinion. Nothing to do with the curtains at all. Or the wallpaper.

That should have been the end of it. Except that when my mother-in-law came in for tea, she noticed the rolls of wallpaper by the entrance door. I ran downstairs to have a look and to my horror, the flower designs were in pink. PINK! Now, baby pink I don't mind, but bright, girly pink? Is he kidding me? I ran back upstairs screaming, 'PINK!' 'Bleeding Pink!' while my mother-in-law escaped into her car and ordered my father-in-law to drive off.

And so the momentary peace deal brokered earlier collapsed and I was ready again for another battle, except that Mr. Pink Husband was out. My mother-in-law phoned in to confirm my ammunition (I have approved her interference as long as she's always on my side).

Anyway, to cut the long story short, the curtains were returned to the shop; my mother-in-law was relieved that there was no big row.

And the husband? He's trying to overcome the embarassment of returning the bleeding pink wallpaper to the shop. He started to say something about not returning them because they didn't cost much anyway, but I stopped him right there. I told him he will be subjected to random verbal attack until the pink wallpaper disappears from my sight.

He rolled his eyes and said, 'Women! Why are you so difficult to deal with?!'

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Faithful but liar

We talked about his friend. He said, 'well, he's monoganous'.

I said, 'you mean, monogamous'?

He insisted, 'monoganous'!

So I got up from our breakfast table and fetched the Oxford Dictionary. I showed him the word that says, m.o.n.o.g.a.m.o.u.s. I said triumphantly, 'see? monogamous!'

He replied, with all the sincerity he could muster: 'That's what I said!'

Friday, 22 August 2008

Action word

The previous Scotland theme for my layout did not seem to carry out well. Two reasons: I found out that hyperlinked words appear the same way as the unlinked. I can't be bothered to tweak it any further. And also, I live in England, so why should I have Scottish theme? Stupid me!

Anyway. That's enough tweaking for now until the end of this century. My eyes have gone square staring at my screen and my forehead is too creased now I would have to start tweezing out the xhtml embedded in between the folds.


I sat down with my 5-year-old while I taught him all about VERBS. Well, at least a bit of it. My 2-year-old sat with us as well, trying to copy what we're saying. EAT. DRINK. COOK. MIX. My husband sat down as well, pretending to be the teaching assistant, but actually trying to learn really. Like most English people, he doesn't know his parts of speech, and even if he's attacked by Martians, he wouldn't know whether they're nouns, prepositions, or tiny creatures that gave birth to dinosaurs.

So I wrote down on an old unused diary the word SWIM.

'Now, this word darling, is called a verb.'

'It's not. It's S-W-I-M. Swim!'

'Yes. You read it SWIM but this type of word is a verb because it does something. It's a doing word... So what does this word do?'

'Nothing. You wrote it down. It's just there!'

So my friends, like the word 'swim', this layout is staying as it is, for now, unless something happens beyond my control. Like if I press the word DELETE by mistake. Now, that by the way, is another verb.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


This week, I took my boys to a country show. It's not really like there are people jiggling their bottoms on stage to entertain fed-up farmers. It's more like a show of well-shined tractors, much to a lot of disappointments of children who are not allowed to pretend-drive them. There were also competitions for well-groomed sheep, cows, and horses. And maybe chickens and ducks as well, who knows. Anyway, it was excruciatingly muddy. It was knee-deep and everytime we try to move to another stall to see what's on display, it was like heaving logs attached to our legs. It was a good job that I didn't bother to bring Lewis' buggy. I could see other parents who had to shove their babies down their pockets just so they could pull their prams from jealous latches of the mud. I pity their all-terrain-travel-systems.

Until now, I'm still wondering why I ever went there. I scanned the crowd and I could only see people in tweeds, berrets and jodhpurs. Am I the only one that represents 5% of the Asian population here? Maybe they're all in China, hired by the government to fill up empty stadiums. But why was I there in the first place? I'm not a farmer, not interested in buying a tractor, and most importantly, I don't get on with mud! But when I saw the faces of my boys all caked in mud, which could be horses' muck for all I knew, laughing, trodding along like it was the best thing ever to have happened in their lives, I felt contented. My mother-in-law was so surprised how relaxed I was about it considering that last year, I threw away Zak's new pair of shoes after he played at a muddy football pitch.

Today, I took them again to a Woodlands Festival where people living alternative lifestyles creating stuff out of renewable resources where displaying and demonstrating their crafts. Zak joined in and made a design of fish out of willow. He also tried lathe, a traditional woodcrafting tool. He was shy at first but it made him speak to a lot of matted-haired people. Honestly, I felt like I was out of their league. These people care for the environment and lived their life according to what nature offered in a renewable sort of way, if that's how you incongrously put it. Then I thought of how much plastic packaging I had in my fridge and it was like I was their enemy. I took my boys there to see the GreenMan, the mythical woodland creature, and listen to his music and stories. Instead I felt like an invader of the only group of people who would survive the Apocalypse.

I realise that I'm a bit insecure about my looks [read: Asian] mainly because these activities we go to are country-based. In this part of England, the closest you can get to ethnic minority are the redheads (this is according to Judith O'Reilly). Sometimes, I get a good laugh when a local tries to speak V-ER-Y SL-OW-L-Y to me, enunciating every sound, forming the lips according to the vowels, just so I could follow what she's on about. When I'm in the mood for it, I would say, 'Ah no wot ye on abaaht'. (I know what you're on about.) I just love the way the English get embarassed!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

It will take him one year to eat this... or one minute. And then his teeth will all fall off. So what's the moral here?

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Summer being the wedding season, I am always dragged by my husband to ceremonies and receptions. Yesterday was another of those weddings where you see stressed brides wearing the wrong hairstyle, unable to breath because of the corsets being too tight. When you go to these events twice a week of your summer holiday, you don't anymore feel the buzz. Instead, you become impatient at bridesmaids constantly disappearing to have a fag, groomsmen unable to restrain gulping bottles of champagne, and children stiff and incapable of smiling because they're either too hot in their clothes or their shoes don't fit at all.

It is always complicated when it is time for formal portraits. The bride's and groom's parents are either separated, divorced, have different partners, don't talk to one another, don't want to be seen together, ignore each other, or don't want to be photographed together. If you're the professional photographer, you have to know this beforehand or risk upsetting/making everybody uncomfortable and stiff in the photos.

There is one thing that annoys me about brides. It's their dress! When a bride walks, she always picks up her dress, like it's some heavy artillery. She never lets her dress carry her; she carries it like she's outside of it. During the reception, she acts like she's still trying her dress on, while she's surrounded by 100 men and women measuring how it fits her overly-tanned body. She's not herself. She's being plastered by heavy make-up like she's on a circus show. How would a groom know it's her?

The groom, if not shaking like a leaf, behaves like a corpse. You won't know if he understands what you're saying; he just grins like a dead hyena. His head is usually off his body and his hands are contanstly rearranging his tie, as if that's what kills him in the first place.

There is always an overweight bridesmaid in every wedding. It's fine, as long as the dress doesn't pretend to be smaller than what she really is. I always worry because their breasts could pop out, you know, and how would a bride feels if her groom is resurrected just by looking at those heavy-weights?!

And the guests! I think they should practise wearing high heels at home before going to the reception. Their hats should fit their heads, their dresses should fit well, and they should remember that it's the bride and groom's day, not theirs. Even if you're the mother of the bride, you shouldn't wear a barbie pink if the motiff is purple.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


I'm a nagger at home.

They always hear me say:

'Don't play with the tap. It's a waste of water.'

'Turn off that toy (battery-operated) if you're not using it. It's a waste of batteries.'

'Turn off the TV as soon as you finish watching your programme.'

Etc, etc, etc.

Then yesterday morning, it started to rain. (Well, what do you expect from British summer?)

Zak said, 'Oh, goodness, is it raining again? What a waste of water!'

Friday, 1 August 2008

Score: Love all

I'm knackered again. This week, Zak has been learning tennis, and because he could hit the ball only about 1 out of 30, I practised with him until the ball hits the racket and not under it. Sometimes, K would think that really, Zak is not cut-out for sports and we should just let him be with his books because apart from his feet being stuck to the ground like lead when the ball comes his way, he either swings the racket the wrong way or hit himself with it.

But then again, he's only 5 years old, what would you expect? I'm sure Nadal didn't hit all his balls the first time? And then K would say that honestly, swimming (which he will have a crash course next week) is better for him. Not tennis. Not football.

The only thing is, he 'loves' tennis and he always looks forward to all his lessons. I'm just glad it will be finished by the end of this week and I could have a rest from picking up all the balls.

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