Friday, July 22, 2011

It's All Worth It

Shy+blur Hong Wei, with extremely-naughty 
Yew Herng at the back.

Tse Wei at the piano with Ms. Lim,
and Nicolas :)

Super talkative Bryan (he can NEVER keep quiet for too long =.=)
and sweet Siti, who has Down's Syndrome

Our newest student, Zi Xin, who is such 
a pleasure to teach :)

Some of these kids, despite telling them over and over and over again, always forget that a semibreve has four counts, a minim has two, and a crotchet has one. Every week, it's like doing the same lesson all over again. They never seem to get it. @.@


Some of these kids, instead of doing their work, chatter excitedly about their family trip to Malacca, or even to our very own Jusco. And it is very hard to get them to keep quiet once they get going. They are easily distracted with everything. They tease and bully each other, steal one another's pencils and erasers.


Some of these kids nod when you tell them to do something, deceiving you into believing they actually understand what you are saying, and then turn around and do something completely different.


Some of these kids keep falling off the kid stools because they prefer to sit on them like they have two legs instead of four. And no matter how many times you tell them to "Zuo hao hao lai!" (Sit properly!) they never do.


At times like these, they make me want to yell and pull all my hair out in frustration, or shake them until they get it. Sometimes, they make me want to throw my hands up in surrender!




But then there are also moments when they completely redeem themselves.


When they actually DO remember that a semibreve has four counts, a minim has two, and a crotchet has one. When they recognize the Middle C note, and exclaim it triumphantly! When they quietly and diligently finish the homework you gave them. When they answer every question right, even the tricky ones. When they look up at you and smile when you make a little joke for their benefit. :)




These moments remind me that what I'm doing is really worthwhile. These moments assure me that I am not a complete failure of a teacher. These moments convince me that naughty/playful/hyper-active kids are still worth teaching, as long as they have the right heart and attitude.


I am a strong believer in the fact that the right attitude is the key to success in life. You may not be the smartest, or the strongest, or the most capable. You may not have had a string of As in all your public examinations, or the highest GPA in your class. But as long as you have humility, and the earnest willingness to learn, you will do well, and go far.


I can tell, at this age, those who will succeed in the future. You can, you know.


I know of one who will not and, I suspect, will also experience trouble everywhere she goes, if she does not change her ways.


I hope she does, for her sake.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Queen of Brats

No matter how strong we think we are,


No matter how thick a skin we think we have,


We all have a fragile heart.


Easily wounded. Easily hurt. Easily crushed.


With words, actions. Subtle gestures, and facial expressions.


By friends, loved ones, family. Even by little eight-year-old brats.




Maybe the last one is just me.




The last three lessons with this little girl have been, to put it aptly, hell. And I am not exaggerating.


have met my fair share of brats, let me tell you that. Brats who won't sit still, who scream and yell and shout the building down, who run around, or lie down on the floor and refuse to move (yes, try getting an eight-year-old off the floor when he doesn't want to. TRY IT.)


But this girl is, for certain, an entire breed of brat all on her own--a highly advanced one too. What I mean is, she's like, the absolute Worst Brat of all Brats. The Mother of all Brats. The Queen of Brats.




Every week, she enters the room screaming and yelling god knows what. She throws her books, flings her stationery across the room. She climbs onto the piano bench, jumps around. She kicks the small stool meant for placing feet, cos the kids are still too small for their feet to reach the floor while sitting on the piano bench. She refuses to even sit properly on the piano bench to play, and instead, bangs the keys on the piano ferociously, yelling triumphantly, "Here, let me play the piano for you!" She is distracted by anything and everything, ignoring me as I try to persuade her to play the piano properly. I guess you can tell, two teachers are not enough to control this little  creature  monster brat.


But worst of all, is her attitude. Gorsh, does she have serious attitude problems.




She is disrespectful and rude, and speaks to me and the other teacher as if we were the kids, and she was the Boss. She has called me numerous names over the past three lessons, talked back to me, shouted at me.


She challenges me at every turn, and I find myself having to control my temper every time I speak to her. Which she barely listens to anyway.


I have tried everything. I tried different approaches, sometimes over a span of ten minutes. The first lesson, I tried being nice, and buddy-buddy. I joked with her, teased her. Tried to nudge her to play. But she climbed over my head and trampled all over me. Well, I guess I completely understand the expression now, cos it sure felt that way.


Then I tried being strict. I gave her a stern stare and told her, "Tse Teng, tan hao hao lai. Ni yao wo da ni ma?" (Tse Teng, please play properly. Do you want me to hit you?) Her response? "HUH, Ni hui da ren de meh? Wo bu pa ni ar!" (HUH, would you actually hit anyone? I'm not afraid of you!)


When I reprimand her, she yells, "Ni xiang ni hen da meh? Wo da guo ni ar!" (literally translated: You think you're so big? I'm bigger than you!)


"Wo bu yao tan liao!" (I don't want to play anymore!) and then she'd slam her books shut and stomp off to stuff them in her bag. And I'm left at the piano, staring after her in disbelief. Stunned speechless.


Today, I had tried a different tactic. I came bearing gifts--chocolate-filled marshmallows, to bribe them into behaving well. All I wanted was at least one pleasant lesson. Just one.


She was wary at first, saying that I wouldn't give them to her anyway. I gave her a pinky promise, telling her I would definitely give her the treats if she behaved herself and played properly for me. She agreed. I was so relieved! She actually played more today than she had for the past two weeks combined! :D


But that didn't last long. No sirree.


After she'd gotten her marshmallow, I guess I had to expect she was the kind of person who would demand more. I told her I would give her another, with the condition being that she would complete her theory work, and behave herself, and listen to the other teacher as well. But she kept demanding them from me, harassing me every few minutes, even while I was tending to the other children.


It got to the point where I was very annoyed. I began to ignore her. I mean, if she had asked me nicely, I might answer her nicely. She was like, "Eh, gei wo gei wo gei wo!" (Eh, gimme gimme gimme!) And what I asked of her was reasonable, was it not? She had not done any of her theory work, was torturing the other teacher too, and was obsessed with climbing behind the clavinova, so why should I give her another marshmallow? She certainly did not deserve it!


When she got tired of me ignoring her, she practically climbed onto the piano bench, while there was another student sitting there, completely interrupting us, and said, "Wo you dong xi gen ni jiang," (I have something to tell you.) "Ni shi sa ben dan! Ni shi tan xin po!"


Okay, I know my Mandarin is not exactly fluent. But I understood what she said to me then. It is difficult to translate that, but she was basically saying I was crazy, and stupid. And that I was a greedy bitch. (Okay, it doesn't exactly mean 'bitch', but literally translated, it means grandmother. And obviously she does not mean I'm her grandma. You figure it out yourself.)


Those were pretty harsh insults. Ones that I found, surprisingly, hurtful.




I did not realize how badly they had wounded me, until I came home and sat on my bed, with tears flowing from the corners of my eyes.




How silly is that? How stupid am I?


She's just a freakin' eight-year-old!


Nevertheless, those words hurt me. They made me feel like I'm such a failure at being a teacher because I can't even get an eight-year-old to practice the piano. I used to think kids loved me as much as I loved them. I guess not.


I remember at the end of the lesson, just as she left the room, and when I still refused to give her that darn marshmallow, she threw me this absolutely dirty look. I could read very well what she was trying to tell me: "I HATE YOU." When I tried to talk to her, she shouted at me, in tears, "Bu yao gen wo jiang hua! Wo xin qing bu hao!" (Don't talk to me! I'm in a bad mood!)


Well guess what, BRAT, so am I.


I used to think that, no matter how "challenging" a student is, I will never give up on a student. I will never do that.


But I cannot handle this student. I cannot handle this...this brat.


What kind of a child is this who has no respect whatsoever for her elders? Who has the audacity and the gall to yell and scream and stomp her feet if she doesn't get her way? Who has such a potty mouth? Who has not even a scrap of manners? Who can call people such hurtful names?


She makes me drag my feet to a job that I actually quite enjoy. She has turned me into some monster, someone I do not like, that I told myself I'd never become.


I do not want to see her next week. 


I hope I never see her again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Scary Post

This is a very scary post. I recommend that the weak-hearted should discontinue reading from this point on. (I believe this is scary for both girls AND guys. So guys, if you ain't tough enough, just don't try.)




(Don't say I didn't warn you.)






Have you ever thought about what you will name your kids? What do you plan to name your daughter? Your son? If you had more than one daughter/son? What will their names be? And before even that, how many kids do you wish to have? :D


(Told you it was a scary post. Still not too late to turn back now!)




Such a happy baby! :D


Sam and I, on one of our occasional super-enthusiastic long conversations on the phone, discussed this matter at length.


(Fyi, personally, contrary to most people, I find guys who can commit to long-term relationships really hot, and guys who can discuss such matters of the future without squirming--or throwing up--and avoiding it altogether very attractive. Extremely attractive :D)


Yes, I find that one of the most attractive qualities in a man :)


Anyway, there were a few names we mentioned in our very unusual discussion. (Unusual because this is our first time actually talking about it, and although it felt strange at first, it turned out to be realllyyyy FUN! :P)


My pretty little princess? :)


We both agreed Isabel was a nice name. Hm, typing this out, I realize that we have to also agree on the variations of the name too. It could be Isabel, or Isabelle, even Isobel. And we could call her "Belle" for short! Like the princess in Beauty and the Beast! (Definitely NOT calling her Izzie >.<) Such a lovely name, right? :)


Speaking of Disney Princesses, I think Aurora is a beautiful name! Isn't it? It's unique and sounds so beautiful :) And what about Jasmine? I'd love for my little girl to have the kind of spunk her namesake had in Aladdin. Wouldn't you? :D Ah, Ariel is pretty too! And Melody! Maybe she'll be really gifted in music and singing with a name like that! :P


I kinda like the name Melissa too. It rolls off the tongue rather nicely, and sounds really pretty :) Cheryl and Vanessa sound nice too! And doesn't the name Dawn seem absolutely perfect for a girl? That name carries such beautiful images with it. :D Or Sheryl. Maybe Sheryllyn? Shirlynn is a no-no though. Sam has some weird history with a girl named Shirlynn. Don't ask. =.=


Look at those chubby wittle cheeks, 
and chubby wittle fingers!


David is a no-no for a boy too. Too many Davids around. No Ryan, no Bryan, please. The naughtiest kids I know are named that >.< I like Nicholas, somehow, and Benjamin :) And Sam is allllll for Michael, named for his most beloved idol, the late Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, his brother is also Michael. He grumbled that just because his mum decided to name his brother that, now he can't name his own son Michael! xD




Anyway, if you want inspiration for names for kids, I doubt we can look to the celebrities for good choices. If you don't believe me, just go have a look yourself!


Suddenly, Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter being named Apple sounds pretty decent compared to the others now. @.@


Recently though, David Beckham's latest addition to his brood, born just last 10th of July, is named Harper Seven. I'm not kidding. Look it up.


He has a freakin' number in his name. Wow, if naming your kids numbers is becoming the latest trend, then my question is: how do we determine which numbers are masculine, and which are feminine? Or are all numbers unisexual?


Hm, Six sounds like a feminine name if you ask me. Melissa Six. What do you think?


Why don't they name them all in order then? Beckham should have just named his kids Brooklyn One, Romeo Two, Cruz Three and finally, Harper Four. Can't he count? Tsk tsk.


The tongue's out at you! xD




Another interesting idea for naming your kids: a friend of mine once told me that his parents had already planned that they wanted four kids. So the initial letters of all their names spelled the word LOVE. In order too! Lionel, Ordrey, Vincent and Eugene. How cool is that? Maybe I'll do something like that too, in the future! 


(Don't copy me ar. It's my idea!) (Well, actually, it was Lionel's parents' idea. Fine. But I'm copyrighting that idea! xD)


So what are you planning to name your kids? :D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Much is Too Much?

Of all the uncertainties in life, one thing is certain--people change.


For better, or for worse, people change.


With every new experience, with every decision, with every new encounter, be it conscious or unconscious, they shape who we become. They are sometimes so subtle, that we may not actually be able to look back and point to a specific moment in time when we truly changed.


Sure, sometimes it's some life-altering experience. A near-death one, a traumatic one, a meeting with an idol, a mentor, a betrayal, a careless moment. A moment where, thereafter, changed the way you behaved, responded, acted. Sure, these, are easy to pinpoint. With these kind of moments, you can say, "Yes, here was a life-altering moment."


But what if you looked back and there were no such moments? For most of us, we cannot say there was some "life-altering" moment, and yet, five years, six years, ten years down the line, we are (completely) different from who we once were.


Depending on whether it was "for better" or "for worse", we are either pleased, or upset, that we got this way.




In the natural order of things, we mature, we "grow up". Physically, of course. But also, and more importantly, mentally.


That is not the kind of change I mean.


The little things. The way we dress, the way we speak, the people we hang out with, the things we are comfortable with, the lengths we are willing to go to to achieve something we want. Things that you may not realize have changed about yourself if someone had not pointed it out.




Now if a friend of yours had changed, to the point that you wonder, "Who is she? Where is the person I used to know?" What does that mean for the friendship? If the person is no longer who you first became friends with, is walking away from the friendship justified? Even if you have been friends for years and years, they're completely different people now. So can they blame you for no longer wanting to be friends?


If your Significant Other in a committed relationship has changed so much from the person he or she used to be when you first started off as a couple, what does that mean? Can I say, "You're no longer the person I first fell in love with." Should breaking up be the next step?


What if it were your spouse? The person you married? The person you vowed to love, for always? It is likely that many years down the line, your husband or your wife will not be the same person he/she was when you first got married. They change, you divorce them?


First of all, I am talking about significant change. Not the she-paints-her-toenails-a-different-colour-now kind of change. Be serious. Significant changes. Changes that maybe go against what you stand for, what you believe, what you're passionate about. Or they become the kind of people you despise, or never liked. Changes that you doubt you will ever be able to tolerate, or an issue you can never compromise on.


What then?




It is truly unrealistic to believe that in any relationship, the other person will stay the way they are, forever-and-ever-amen. Whether in friendships, or with your spouse.


But is it really unfair to hope that they do, somehow remain, essentially, the same? Somehow, that does not sound too unreasonable, does it?


But if that were so, do we enter all these relationships with some hidden or unspoken clause? That the relationship will continue if and only if the person remains, in all significant aspects, the same. What then, are those "significant aspects"? Where are the lines drawn?





How much can a person change to be considered acceptable? 

How much is too much

At which point do you say, "This ain't what I signed up for. I'm out."?


On the one hand, I believe it is only fair that you allow the other person room to change--to be whoever they want to be, regardless of whether that change is approved by you.

But on the other hand, I also believe it is reasonable to want the other person to stay who they were when the relationship (friendship/marriage) began.


So I'm stuck. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Two Fluffy Yellow Slippers

            Once upon a time, there was a pair of fluffy bedroom slippers. They were yellow and had huge plastic eyes sewn onto their fronts which made them look perpetually surprised. After a considerable amount of time going through machinery after machinery, and cruising along conveyor belt after conveyor belt, enduring much pain from stitching and gluing, they finally emerged from the factory of their birth, extremely fluffy.
            They were neatly packed with the rest of their buddies and transported in a huge van to their new temporary home. They were excited. All that they dreamed of was to find a sweet little girl who would love them. And they would totally love her back by keeping her sweet little feet warm and cosy. Would she be waiting for them on the “other side”?
            When the doors of the huge van opened and flooded the entrance with light, their hopes soared to the sky. Who would look upon them and finally, take them home where they belong?
            It was not to be. At least not yet. They were roughly handled, thrown upon piles and piles of other colourful fluffy bedroom slippers. They squeaked at each impact, at each squish, as they struggled to breathe amongst the others. Young and grumpy sales girls and sales boys took them out and dumped them in a metal basket in some shopping mall. And there they lay, staring at the bottom of the metal basket, not knowing what went on above them as the people strode in and out, day in and day out. A few browsed, but none who actually picked them up and loved them enough to take them home.
            Was this to be their fate? To remain in the bottom of the metal basket forever? Little tears, invisible to the human eye, rolled down their huge plastic eyes stuck onto their fronts.
            One fine day, an ordinary day like all the others before them, a little girl passed by their way. After months of staring into the bottom of the metal basket, the two fluffy yellow bedroom slippers did not hope much for the little girl to notice them. But lo and behold, the little girl rummaged through the pile and picked them straight out! She gave a gasp of pure joy and gestured to her mother to come quickly. Still, the two fluffy yellow bedroom slippers were cautiously wary. They only truly believed their dream had come true when they were lying, safe and sound, in the little girl’s bag, slung around her delicate shoulders.
            The little girl loved the two fluffy yellow slippers more than anything else in her room. She wore them everywhere around the house, even though they were just bedroom slippers. They squeaked everywhere she walked, and the little girl sometimes even wore them in bed with her, because she could not bear to part with them.
            The two fluffy yellow slippers could not have asked for more.
           As the years went by, the little girl grew up. The two fluffy yellow slippers bore witness as the little girl changed—from plasticine and dough, to make-up sets and mini radios; from toys and dolls, to books and CDs; from frilly dresses and princess hair bands, to miniskirts and tank tops. Still, the girl wore her fluffy yellow slippers everywhere in the house, and so they saw no reason to worry.
            Until the day the little girl went off to college.
           Over several weeks, there were huge changes in the house. Things were being packed up in boxes; old stuff was thrown out, new stuff brought in. Her entire room was in disarray. The two fluffy yellow slippers were confused and afraid as they sat in their tiny corner by the door. What was going on?
           One day the little girl left and did not come back the next day. Or the day after that. And even the day after that. Quietly, the two fluffy yellow slippers waited anxiously in their corner, hoping that today was the day the little girl would come home and slip her little feet into them where they can be kept warm and cosy. Then everything would go back to normal.
            After months of waiting, they began to lose hope. Other than the occasional sweeping and dusting by the little girl’s mother, no one came into the room at all. One day, out of the blue, the little girl returned, laden with bags and books. As she dumped her stuff at the door, she seamlessly slipped her feet into the two fluffy yellow slippers and gave a contented sigh. The two fluffy yellow slippers were completely overjoyed. She had returned! They would be loved again! The little girl wore the fluffy yellow slippers everywhere around the house, as she always did. And it seemed like she had never left. Everything went back to normal.
            Unfortunately, that lasted a few days before, once again, the little girl left and did not come back the following day. Or the day after that. And even the day after that. The two fluffy yellow slippers were crushed. Why did she abandon them again?
            This went on several times. Each time she would abandon them for months, and then return. She wore the two fluffy yellow slippers everywhere around the house, as if nothing had happened. As time went by, the two fluffy yellow slippers were disappointed, sad, and then angry and indignant. How dare she leave them again? How dare she slip her feet into them without apologizing first? How dare she not even bother giving them an explanation? After everything the two fluffy yellow slippers had done for her?
            Their anger and indignation finally drove them to speak to the little girl. One day when she was home, the two fluffy yellow slippers said their piece. They told the little girl how hurt and angry they were because she only loved them when she was home. They told the little girl how wounded they were over being “used”. They wanted things to go back to the way they were before, when the little girl wore them every single day, brushed their fluff every week, hugged them in bed every night. The little girl was greatly distressed over what the two fluffy yellow slippers had told her.
            She told them how much she loved them for always keeping her feet warm and cosy, but her life had changed so that she could not take them where she was. She cared for them still, but she could not promise that things will go back to the way they were. She is thankful that the two fluffy yellow slippers were always there when she needed them, even though they were not with her every day. With tears in her eyes, she told them that she truly appreciated what the two fluffy yellow slippers really meant to her—home.
            The two fluffy slippers were saddened by what the little girl had said—how things could never really go back to what they were before. Even so, they understood that things had changed, and they will continue changing. They could never regain the past, and they can never foretell the future, but they were still grateful for what they have in the present.
            The two fluffy yellow slippers went back to being two non-speaking fluffy yellow slippers. And the little girl went back to college.
            Finally, there came a day when the two fluffy yellow slippers’ huge plastic eyes had all fallen out, one by one, and they were no longer fluffy nor yellow (instead, more like grey). With a great ache in her heart, the not-so-little girl said goodbye to her two not-fluffy not-yellow slippers as she wrapped them up lovingly in a plastic bag and threw them away. After all these years, they were gone now. But she would always remember how warm and cosy her little feet felt every time she wore them. She would always remember that. Always.



THE END

© Copyright of LISA KWAN 2011


Change is inevitable. Friendships may be affected. But you will always have the memory of how they made you feel :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Love Me Some Falsies!

Last week, I was the emcee for the Young Musicians in Concert organised by the music school at which I teach part-time.


I've been their emcee for the past three annual Christmas Concerts at the music school, located in a tiny nook in Rasah Jaya Phase One. So being the emcee for this year's Young Musicians in Concert isn't such a biggie, right?


WRONG.




This was a much bigger event, held in Auditorium Taman Budaya (the hall behind the State Museum) with an expected audience of 500.


Five hundred people, yo.


When I've only emceed in front of a crowd of like, 80? @.@




In addition to the ganjeong-ness all that already gave me, I only found out I was going to emcee on the Friday before the Concert on Sunday. A mere two days' notice.


Nope. I ain't kidding.


The lady who was supposed to emcee cancelled at the last minute for some emergency reason I was not told of. Ms. Chen, the principal, then called me up (actually, she woke me up--so embarrassing ~.~) at 10.30am on Friday, to ask to me to be the emcee.


Her question certainly jolted me from my drowsy state very effectively, I must say. @.@


I was reluctant, initially, only because it was so last minute I barely had time to wrap my head around it. But I knew what it felt like to have last minute cancellations and people disappoint you, so I said yes. Anyway, this was my former piano teacher we're talking about. I wouldn't mind doing her a favour. I owe her :)




So, with only one full rehearsal on Saturday, I was up onstage on Sunday to strut my stuff. Thankfully, my co-emcee was a very happy-go-lucky, charming guy (four years my junior all right? Don't get the wrong idea =.=) whom I instantly connected with.


On the day of, we were on fire! We even came up with impromptu dialogues to lighten the mood and make the audience chuckle from our lame jokes and antics. Though there were a few slips of the tongue (T.T) I have to say everything went smoothly and pretty well, considering.


The audience had no inkling that just a couple of hours before the show, I had a minor breakdown at home--I was in tears and my hands were shaking so much I couldn't do my make-up properly. >.<




I really have to say my thanks here--to God. When things go well, I seldom remember that He's the one I owe everything to. He was the one behind it, the one who helped me through it, who put the right words in my mouth. The one who gave me the confidence and courage to just go out there in front of all those people, in front of the blinding spotlights, and give my best :)


When my hands were shaking so hard in front of the mirror, I sent up a lightning prayer to God. "God, please help me. Give me calm, and peace."


Which He did! :D




The feedback received was very positive. Ms. Chen made sure to let me know that she'd received comments about the emcee being "beautiful" and "talented". During the intermission after the first half of the Concert, there was even an offer made to my co-emcee and I to emcee for another event elsewhere! :P (Were we really that good? :D)




All in all, it was a great day. I came home feeling utterly relieved and glad that things went as well as they did. The Concert was a success, and our emceeing was a success :)




Anyway, I wanted to post pictures of my outfit for the day, and my make-up! Seeing as I was going to be onstage and bombarded with bright lights, my make-up had to be a little heavier this time, just so I wouldn't look so pale and dull. And in Ms. Chen's words, "The emcees will set the mood for the Concert."


So I had to glam it up, a little, didn't I? :D




This was my first time putting on false eyelashes. I was such a noob at this that I went searching on Youtube for videos on "How To Put on False Eyelashes" the night before the Concert. Nope, ain't kidding here either. >.< My eye shadow range is also abysmal. I had to use some cracked palettes due to the lack of choice :(


My full outfit: Gold shimmery sleeveless top, with a long velvet black skirt 
(which I felt was perfect for the occasion!) and black flower heels :)
I also matched them with a black belt and a long necklace.
p.s: My nails were a shimmery gold too, at the time! <3

Here's a closer look at my face (Forgive my posing with a red rose. But I'd received the rose after the Concert, and we all know red roses are for camwhoring with! xD)

In order of application: Eye shadow--black, grey and shimmery white, glitter eyeliner, mascara and false eyelashes. (I've learned the trick how to put them on! :D)
I guess it explains why girls take so long to put on their face! 

Closer look at my eye make-up, with purple contact lenses on! :)

I'm loving how I look with full-on eye make-up :D 
I could get used to this! *wink*

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Computer-Game Junkie...

...was what I had originally entitled my article, before the Star changed it to "Connected by an Addiction".


(Personally, I think my title sounds better than theirs. Don't you think?)


When I first saw my name appear on the Sunday Star this morning, I was initially pleased and happy. However, that quickly turned to annoyance when I realized that the paper had not returned my email after I had submitted the article. 


There was not a sound from them about whether they had selected my article or not. And there it is, in the Star, completely without my prior knowledge.




As I scanned through my article once again, I was peeved to see that they had edited a few parts in my article that were, in actuality, incorrect.


"Why won't you die? Just die already!"


Is that sentence (or rather question) not correct? The editor had corrected it to "Just died already!" @.@


OMG. The 'already' in that question does not, in any way, indicate a past action, but rather is used here in this context to convey exasperation!


You do understand what I mean, don't you? Why won't they just get it already?!
(There, another example for you >.<)




Another part, was when they corrected "level 3-12" to "levels three to twelve". It is obvious they have never played Angry Birds before. I meant Level 3 stage 12. Not Levels 3 to 12. If I had meant it as levels 3 to twelve, I would have written it as levels 3 to 12 >.<




I was annoyed, to say the least. First, for not informing me beforehand of the publication, of which I thought I thoroughly deserved (Don't you think the author deserves to be given a heads up? >.<) and second, for making changes to my article that are incorrect. >.<


ARGH.


The woes of a published author I guess. (HAH. Kidding :P)


(Fyi, this was my second time being published in the Star. The first was when my short story was selected to be published in the "Heart and Soul" section. And on a related note, I have had two other short stories published in a compilation book called Write Out Loud edited by Karen Ann Theseira, published by Oak Publications. You can look it up :P)




Here's the full article, if you'd care to read it :D


And here's my original version :)





The Computer-Game Junkie
by Lisa Kwan

            “Die, you pigs! Die! Die!”
            “Why won’t you die? Just die already!”

            I glance over my laptop screen to the woman sitting opposite me with her feet propped up on a sofa arm, clicking away furiously at her mouse as she tries to get past level 3-12 of Angry Birds, one of the most popular games out right now.
            The woman is fifty five years old. She is my mother.
            My mother, a homemaker, is completely into computer and online games. No, that would be an understatement. My mother is addicted to computer and online games. It all started several years ago, the progression from modest just-to-pass-the-time playing to hardcore I’m-playing-this-till-I-achieve-high-score evident.
            It began with Spider Solitaire. She would play game after game for hours on end, competing against herself to obtain higher and higher scores on the record. Then, when social networking sites like Facebook began to popularize and a vast range of online games with it, she was hooked on Bejeweled Blitz. And yes, she created her own Facebook account then too. Without my help, I might add. I woke up one morning to her proud proclamation, “I have Facebook! Add me as a friend, okay?” Which I did, rather reluctantly.
            The next level of her game addiction was competitive. With online games, she discovered that she could challenge and compete against friends who played the same game. Every day, I would see her on the Bejeweled Blitz page, “buying” special tools to increase her chances of winning. Quite often, I would hear her frustration when she did not top the score board, “Bee Choo is Number One with 312,000? How can?!” And she’d proceed with another game of Bejeweled Blitz, intent on knocking this Bee Choo friend of hers off her Number One spot.
            Her latest craze is Angry Birds. (I have to admit it was my fault for introducing it to her in the first place.) Often I’d hear the now familiar shrieks and squawks of the birds being catapulted into the air, and the ridiculously annoying (but cute!) background music of the game. Sometimes, when I think about it, her addiction to these games scares the hell out of me. Even I cannot compete with her when it comes to games. However, at the same time, I am pleasantly surprised at how well my mother has acclimated to the technology world.
            She writes long-winded emails, even forwards inspiring ones to my account once in a while. She has a Facebook account and is not as dormant as I expected her to be. She knows how to comment on photos, “like” statuses and use FB Chat. She has a blog, though she has not blogged in a long while now, which I helped her set up. Recently, I taught her how to search for and download wallpaper images of her favourite Korean actor (Hyun Bin) for our computer’s desktop. At this point, I will not be surprised if she one day asks me to help her create a Twitter account.
            All this has made me see my mother in a new light. Even though in many ways she is still “conservative”, I can see that my mum is an “adapter”—someone who adapts to new development and progresses with the times. It also shows her willingness to do so. She is very much “young at heart”, and because of that, the gap between us is that much smaller. We relate to the other more, we understand each other more. We share a bond. Maybe the solution to the generation gap is to get the parents hooked on computer games! J





Hope you liked it! :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can You Sew? I Can!

Since I was so "busy" and all, I have a backlog of photos that I've wanted to post up and blog about!


They're like, old news now. But what can I do? I'll have to pay for my laziness before T.T




Anyway, this post will be about some of the handmade stuff I've done. :)


For this year's Mother's and Father's Day, it's been really simple. Nothing too extravagant. Just simple cards :)




For Mother's Day, I made this:




accompanied by some lovely Apple Crumble dessert at my grandma's place :)




For Father's Day, I made this:


My brother made the card, even wrote the words
I stuck the buttons on :P


A special dedication message to my dad :)


also accompanied with my twice-successful Steamed Moist Chocolate Cake that my daddy loves so much! :D




And so, for my friend, MayLee's birthday, I thought about what I wanted to get her. Due to time constraints, I considered just buying her a gift when I went shopping at the mall. Maybe a bag? A purse?


Then I heard Chrissy was planning to make her a tiara--because the crazy birthday girl was sooooo into princesses and all. Yes, princesses. And yes, even though she was turning 23. =.=


Make her a tiara? WOW.


My gift seemed so lame then T.T




I was still limited by time. So what can I do?


Hm, maybe I could buy something, and then personalize it? :D




While thinking about what to get for this crazy birthday girl of ours, I remembered seeing her GIGANTIC make-up bag once when we were in uni together. We were supposed to go for a dinner, can't remember which. Was it Choir Night? Or our college annual dinner? Doesn't matter.


Anyway, I remember heading over to her room to wait for her (because Nana and I were done and ready ages ago, but our little "princess" was still "putting on her face") and that's when I noticed her HUGE make-up case.


It was like a mini luggage bag, I kid you not. I could definitely put TWO of my faces in there!!! @.@




Since she is doing her internship right now, I thought, Hey, why not get her a little make-up pouch to bring to work, since she obviously can't be bringing her GIGANTIC make-up case? :D


It'll be like, her little touch-up pouch, where she can fit maybe a tube of lip gloss, some mascara, foundation powder and some eye shadow. And it'll be handy enough to just slip into her handbag. It's certainly more handy than her GIGANTIC make-up case!


Did I mention how GIGANTIC it was? xD (In case you're wondering, I'm just attempting to annoy her when she reads this :P)


Brilliant idea, right? :)




So I got to work. I bought this sweet little cloth pouch that had a jeans design. It even had a little belt around the "waistline" xD


On the other side, though, it was bare. Which was absolutely perfect! :D


Spot the cute little belt? :P


I cut some flower-shaped pieces from different cloths that were not needed anymore around my house. No, it's not unwanted, just recycled cloth :)


Then I sewed on some colourful buttons I had bought earlier, together with the flower-shaped pieces of colourful cloth and voila! Pretty cloth flowers!


Different cloths with different button centers! :D


To personalize it even more, I thought sewing her initials on the pouch in nice, cursive sewn lettering would be a nice touch :)


I asked my mum for help on this one, since I didn't know how to sew, what more know what type of stitch would be able to give me the desired cursive lettering.


My mum demonstrated how to sew the blanket stitch and, there you have it! Pretty cursive lettering for her initials M.L.! And I added a red heart, just to show her some LOVE :D


ML <3

So, there, a lovely personalized make-up pouch!







It was frustrating at first, because it was difficult to sew the darn things. But after a while, when the pretty cursive letters started to form, I felt a little more enthusiastic. And it turned out nicely after all, don't you think? :P




Nicely wrapped in pretty wrapping paper....

....with a card :)


Happy birthday, MayMay~ Hope you loved the gift and our little dinner together! :D




The boyfriend of a friend of mine just recently started a little business making handmade cards and taking orders through Facebook. I think that's pretty cool. :)


My mum's been saying it for years, but do you think if I started a small business like that,  you would buy my handmade stuff? :)