A little girl’s prayer

•July 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have a precocious 10 year old daughter who gave us a huge headache during her pre-school days. My wife & I felt that she was a liitle too dreamy and lacked responsibility. Little did werealise that we had fallen for the typical parent syndrome – the one where high expectations were heaped upon the eldest child.  After witnessing so many other parents pressure the eldest (and having gone through the same myself) we made ourseleves promise not to do the same to our eldest . And here we are yet again at the very situation we swore not to be in.
So, for a time, our poor girl was being berated for this and that, for losing her things in school or just being forgetful. Now at the age of 10, she has somewhat outgrown some of those unwanted traits.
A couple of days ago, whilst doing a little spring cleaning, my wife came across a note. It was prayer for my daughter, though none of us can recall ever writing it. It was probably written at some point during the frustrating days. This was what was penned.

Dear God,
You are my greates teacher. I am {name}, who come to you because you have so much wisdom.
Teach me to be more careful and help me look after the things in my care.
Help mom and dad to be good parents, to understand that I will make mistakes.
But I must obey God’s teaching and my parents’ teaching.
Bless my family with patience and kindness, so that we may become a loving family.
Help me Father to understand the law of life and to live by them always.
I know if I listen, you will bless me with happiness. But when I sometimes don’t, you will be there
to remind me.

Amen.

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Delhi yet again

•July 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My last trip to India was in June 2008, after which my visa expired and I thought that that was that. No more trips over there for me.
Afterall, the visa costs an astounding $465 for Aussies!
Nonetheless the company saw fit to pursue opportunities there and off I went.
The place never changes. Well, on the surface it might appear so. Like the newly refurbished airport.
Once outside, the incredible traffic welcomes me once more. For 1st timers, I guess it would be quite a frightening experience. What with honking and lane changing; where a road marked for 2 lanes takes 3 or 4 cars abrest! Truly incredible drivers these Indians. I glanced across at my 2 colleagues who were 1st timers to Delhi and noticed that they were hanging on grimly. I had to chuckle. Me? I usually try not to look when the driver changes lanes or makes a turn.
While I’m giving out advice to my colleagues, I might as well share it.
1. Don’t drink the water from the tap. It does bad things to your stomach.
2. Brush your teeth with bottled water or boiled water.
3. Don’t take ice with your soft drinks
4. Unless you are absolutely sure; avoid raw vegetables / salads.
5. Ok the next few are for departure from Delhi.
– Have your printed e-ticket with you before entering the airport. The security at the entrance will scrutinize every line on it.
– Due to above, it’s generally a good idea to get to the airport at least 2.5 hours before your flight time.
– On checking in with your airline, make sure you obtain baggage tags for all your carry-on bags, be it handbags, plastic bags or cabin bags. You will see why below.
– Upon clearing customs, and having your belongings inspected, make sure each and every baggage tag receive a stamp ( ah, now you know why you got to have the tag. If there’s no tag, then no stamp. )
What is the consequence of not having the tag stamped? Their security will inspect the tags once more just before letting you through the gate.
No stamp means you will be forced to run back to customs to have your item(s) scrutinized, get the stamp then run back to the gate. There’s no arguing with the security detail at the gate.

Hopefully, if you remember these simple tips, your stay in India should be rather pleasent.

Blogging via iPhone

•July 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The whole idea of social netwoking offers tremendous oppotunities to extend communications with friends & family.
I know I’ve neglected updating my blog for sometime; having reverted to writing in my organic ‘real paper’ diary.
However, at the behest of the missus (she cannot read my handwriting I reckon) I will once more start up the entries here.
I guess it’s also more convenient for me now having this nifty fun device! The iPhone is a fantastic tool. It’s hard to imagine myself – a PC person all my life – having an Apple device. But I have no regrets. It’s no wonder Apple has such a huge following. The device is simply ingenious. Ok, end the drooling.

Greater Things

•October 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It was a difficult shot, even for the veterans.
The air was crisp and cool, as it should be for this time of the morning in early spring.
The sun had just barely awoken over the horizon and wasn’t strong enough yet to chase the dew away.
Carlita muttered to herself as she eyed the flag about 120 yards away.
“Trees gonna clip the shot”, she said.
Her father smiled quietly. “No worries baby. Flag’s always going to be there. Its your call how you want to play the shot.”
Carlita shifted her weight. She had been up since the before sunrise. But walking the course with her father was something she wouldn’t have missed for the world.
She looked up at the trees, then at the rapidly brightening sun. The clouds seem to part at that particular moment like a thin veil rising. The sun smiled more brightly at Carlita.

Two years ago, no one in the family would have even imagined that Carlita amounted to anything in sports. She was mediocre at best, with a preference for swimming. Actually, nothing pleased Carlita more than battling goblins or dueling Jedi on her game console. Not really sport, but definitely more exciting and less sweaty.
Then one weekend she had wondered into her uncle’s garage and found an old set of clubs. Curious and bored, she pulled out one of the irons. She’d heard enough about the game to know that this is what is used to hit the ball with. She rummaged thorugh the bag. There must a ball in here somewhere. Bingo! Two yellowish balls. Her uncle wouldn’t mind if she had a hit. He was always saying how wonderful a sport this was.

Carlita timed her breathing unconciously.  In her mind, she could see the ball sailing pass the grasping fingers of the trees to plonk itself down just at the edge of the green. “That’s my shot”, she said to herself.
Everything was balanced now. Carlita made the shot a reality. The ball rolled forward another few metres stopping withing a tap from the flag. She smiled at her father. The game was hers. Might as well be the best birthday present too, for a 9 year old.

Enjoying Home

•August 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t done any blogging since 2008 began. My lame excuse is that work and family kept be too occupied. I wouldn’t be lying there.
With so much travelling required by work these days, its just a joy to spend much of doing simply absolutlely nothing at home but listen to the banter between my 2 girls.
There is the occasional help with the homework (yes, its the parent that ends up doing the projects). Daddy is the resident researcher on matters of science and technology. He’s also the editor, producer, and copywriter.
Of late, the younger of the 2 has realised the freedom of cycling on 2 wheels. Its quite astonishing how easily she worked out her balance. The only mishap she had thus far was trying to cycle on water, unintentionally. As with any youngster, speed is thrilling. However, having not yet comprehending the physics of propulsion and friction, she realised too late that it was harder to turn quickly at high speeds. Before she knew it, she was sputtering in the wading pool. Nothing like a bit of real-life application to get the lesson across.

One of Life’s Wonders

•September 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever wondered about what we, as a normal person, take for granted each day?
Take riding a bicycle as an example. Assuming you know how to ride a bike, have you ever thought about the apprehension and determination it took for you to get going?
We hardly ever recollect the falls, frustration or fears we experienced in the early days of getting started.

On this very afternoon,  the 22 day of September, 4pm, many of those memories came rushing back as I watched my 7 year old girl struggle with great determination to cycle without her training wheels.
For me, it was a bittersweet moment when I recalled the time my father taught me to ride. Did he also worry that I would crash and hurt myself as he ran alongside my wobbly bicycle?
And did he feel that pride that glowed warmly when he saw the success of the moment.
I shared my daughter’s triumph today. I also realised its not about “teaching” her to ride, but more like providing support and encouragement.
As this was a ‘first’ for me, I was just as surprised when I used the same tips that my father used to tell me. How is it that something said 40 years ago remains forever etched in my mind? Will I remember that 40 years from today when I try and help my grandchildren with their attempts on 2 wheels I wonder.
Oh well, that may be best left to my children, when as parents, they too will experience the joy and pain of having kids of their own.

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bicycle, children, parenthood, father

A moment in humility

•July 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment

In our often hectic life, we so very often overlook the smallest gestures of courtesy or kindness that is given to us. It often takes a bigger and more pronounced gesture to make an impact in our own little world.

I suppose we have been immunized by the vast amounts of violence and disasters that have happened over the past few years that, that it really does take something very personal to happen in one’s life to “wake us up”.

So it was with great relief and renewed respect, that I give kudos to the crew of Qantas QF0072 and the staff of Changi Airport (especially that energetic fellow that wheeled my mom around).

You see, mom is as stubborn as mothers can be, well at their age (which I cannot disclose for fear of reprisal). She had just about recovered from a bout of ‘flu and being a little more fragile at her age, we did advise her against travelling. But, ho.. no way was she going to listen. “There’s the kitchen to be cleaned. Your father’s probably made a rightful mess while I’ve been away. And who’s tending to my garden?” and on she goes.

Mom had been staying with us for her usual month-long break – to get away from winter – as well as to spend time with her grand-daughters. For the record, its true that grandmothers do dote on their grand-kids.

On that fateful morning of the 12th July, mom looked fine and cheery. Maybe she was well enough to travel after all. Everyone went downstairs to see her off at 7am.

10:30am and I get a call.. from mom, at the airport. She had gotten off the plane.

What transpired was that mom had suddenly felt faint and nauseous just as the cabin doors closed.

She called for the flight attendant, who summoned the leading stewardess. And it’s at this point that I realized how much attention must have been given to my mom. They were willing to make her as comfortable as possible; explaining that oxygen and ‘possibly’ a doctor was on-board. However, it was also made clear to her that it would be a 5 hour flight. The flight crew didn’t pressure mom at any point. It was all done very professionally. The choice was gently explained to mom that if she felt she couldn’t continue on the journey, she had the option to get off the plane and her luggage would be removed. I think at this point, mom knew that the flight was going to be delayed because of her. She felt really bad about this, but she made the choice to get off the plane.

I can empathize with her. It can be torturous enduring a long flight when you are ill. I suffered terribly en-route from Bangalore back to Singapore. The after effects lingered on for weeks after that, especially the tinnitus.

So, at this point, the words “the need of the one outweigh the need of the many”, has a real and physical essence. We don’t know how long the plane was delayed for. It may have been an hour, or maybe half that (the people at SATS are usually very efficient).

Whatever it was, this is an apology, and a thank you, for understanding.

Mom’s stuck with us now for another couple of weeks. She could only get a flight back to Perth at the end of July. But that’s good anyway. At least that’ll give her time to fully recover.

I don’t think the kids mind having ‘grandma’ around the house for while longer. And in the end, mom will have to attend her sister’s birthday on the 21 July.
 

~~ The moral of all this is. Don’t travel if you are not well ~~