Friday, June 19, 2015

A certain winged creature and their habits

Gnat (pronounced /ˈnæt/ )
A gnat is the common name for many small, winged insects in the fly grouping. Contrary to popular belief, these tiny flying insects are not “babies,” they are adults. The tiny flying insects that many people call “gnats” could really be fruit flies or fungus gnats. Depending on species, gnats can be biting or non-biting and will feed on plants, other insects or blood. Gnats are never able to stay still. 

But this post is not about a gnat. It's about me.

My husband says that I have the patience of a gnat.

It's not that I can't wait. I can. But... fingers get clammy... brain goes into overdrive... heart palpitates...
...and I start to itch and hyperventilate. 

I consciously tell myself to calm down and breathe and when that doesn't work, I imagine myself playing the freeze game (the one where when someone stops the music, you freeze on the spot until the music starts again).

If even that fails, I imagine myself in a box wrapped in multiple layers of wrapping paper and I mentally tear it apart, layer by layer, just to slow myself down.

Sometimes I wish I was a bear. So, I can hibernate during my 'winter of waiting' and wake up when the waiting is over. 

I'm just not the 'wait and see' sort of person. I'm the 'plan, do, see, tweak, see, repeatedly tweak till perfect and see' sort of person. 

If I have 5 miles to change lanes, I do it at the first mile. I used to study at the 11th hour just because I couldn't handle studying then waiting for the exam day. I met my husband (then boyfriend) and got him to sign a contract on the first week to commit to marriage. 

I don't have the patience of a gnat. I have never been able to swat a gnat just because I have never been able to wait long enough for it to settle down. 

My husband on the other hand, has the patience of a mantis, he can wait. He can stay so still that butterflies sit on him.

Good things come only to those who wait? I really hope not.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

When Flowers Bloom

When I was young, we use to have a plant at home, that would have one blooming flower per year. Just a miserly one for 365 days of life. After 365 days of water and fertilisers. When my mum first told me that, I naturally didn't believe her. I mean, she also told me about immortal blind snakes that vomit a pearl every 100 years on a moonless night and uses the light from the pearl to find prey and other equally almost unbelievable 'facts'.

...and so I waited (very) patiently...month after month...making sure I added extra fertilisers and water after my mother's gardening sessions, just not to take chances...

...lo and behold! When I was almost giving up and adding this to my mother's list of 'facts', somewhere in November, I saw the signs of a flower! A bud...unfurling little by little...doing a striptease of what might be inside...I kept a faithful vigil on the first night and the next. The third night was Boy Meets World night. I had waited 300+ days...I could miss ONE episode of a sitcom. Right? 2 seconds into the theme song, I was plopped on the sofa, giggling at Cory's antics. I'd walk out during the intervals, just to make sure I didn't miss anything. 

Then there it was! Half hour later...the flower! Aargh! It didn't bloom when I kept watch, it didn't bloom during the intervals, it didn't even bloom during all the nights I was asleep...and it had to bloom right then when I took a break to watch my favourite show! Just in that 10 miserable minutes between the last interval and the end of the show...HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED IT?!!

I kicked up a fuss that night at my mum for not calling me out when the flower was blooming. But she just said "How would I know that the flower would bloom?! You CHOSE to watch TV anyway" (well she said many other things that I choose not to disclose).

I wish I could say that I learnt my lesson and I watched the next flower from that plant bloom but I didn't. We moved to KL a few months later and the plant was left behind. I never saw it again.

Over the years, I've come to realise that life is very much like that. You have only one chance at it.

One chance to catch your father's hand the first time he falters...
One chance to be there for your mother the first (and only) time you see her breakdown for real...
One chance to tell your brother and sister that you love them more than anything...
One chance to watch your niece fall asleep in your arms WHILE singing 'Pumped Up Kicks'...
One chance to catch your day-old nephew smile even before his eyes open...
And one chance to have your husband kiss your forehead when he thinks your asleep...

Coz if you miss that one chance, flowers bloom, children grow up, people die...

...but most of the time, you just wake up and the moment is gone. You can't even miss it coz you didn't even realise it was there in the first place and you will never know what you're missing...

If I had to do it again, I would CHOOSE to sit with my mother and watch that dang-ed flower bloom.

(Or buy Morning Glorys instead, at least I only have to wait till the next morning if I miss it).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This one or that? Choices, choices...

When we shop for shoes, we try on a few (or more), comparing cuts, sizes, patterns, colours...before finally choosing the ONE that deserves to join the rest of our collection in our shoe closet. Sometimes, after many trials, we walk away with nothing, saying "if only it was a darker shade of blue..." Or sometimes we end up buying something only to regret later and say "I should have gotten the other one, DANG!"

Be it shoes or clothes or brands of mayo on the supermarket aisle, we compare, we weigh the options and we CHOOSE. We don't pick things coz it's there, we don't even say "well so what if I can't get the right shade", or "never mind if if its slightly broken, I'll just get it, I don't have a choice" Nope! No can do. We make our choices and we make it right. Really thinking things through so we don't make a mistake.

But when it comes to life, it's whole different set of rules we play by, right? We don't give choices we make in life as much thought as we do when we buy a shoe or a dress...

For instance, how many times would we have made promises to meet a friend or family and not keep it coz "I have an urgent ad-hoc meeting" or make someone wait for us coz we "just have this last line of email to finish"?

...and how many times would we have justified it by saying,"I don't have a choice, it needs to be done" or "He's my best friend, he'll understand" or even "Not that I don't want to, I was asked to stay..."

It just makes it easier to shrug off all responsibility, to not admit accountability to the choices that we make...because at the end of the day, that's what it is, life is a culmination of all the choices we make. 

Every time we stop to gawk at a dress on display while someone waits for us, we are choosing to do it. At that time, we deem the dress more important than the person waiting. Every time we choose to work at home although we know our parents or siblings or kids would love our company, we choose our work over them. Every time we choose something, we do it at the expense of something else.

Some choices can be difficult to make. Like, career growth versus relationships, 'me' time versus time spent with friends...How do we choose?

Well, nobody said it was easy...Life can be a B*#%H at times...but that is the way it me, the question I constantly ask myself is "Is it worth it?" coz when I make a wrong choice in life, I can't go back to the store to exchange or get a refund...I can't say "DANG! I bought the wrong color, I'll just get another one next season"

In life, when I make a choice, I better be ready to live with, when I make a choice, it better be worth what I'm sacrificing. Because life does not come with an UNDO button.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Be it Facebook or Twitter or any other media, the one thing that never fails to be mentioned, the one topic that constantly hogs headlines and timelines every single day would be POLITICS. 

Ruling party or opposition, they each jostle for the mic and when they do get their 5 minutes of fame, they do any of these three things; which is to take credit for anything that goes right, shift the blame for anything that goes wrong or to narrate a horrifying  prediction of what may happen if the other party were to govern that would put even Nicodemus and the Mayans to shame.

Now, social media has made our lives a whole lot easier in the last couple of years. We see and hear things that we probably would not have if we had lived ages ago. The good, the bad and the ugly...we know it ALL. But KNOWING is only half the battle...what are we gonna SAY and DO about it? That's the million dollar question.

Well, if you're thinking, what's one tweet, one can that change anything? You're right. It can't. But imagine this, 23 million tweets of "What happened to Altantuya? and Where is my tax money going?" or 23 million posts on the PM's FB page or even 23 million letters to takes millions to bring about change but it has to start with ONE.

So, what is ONE vote? It's a start...It's an action...We cannot control the outcome but we can ACT. 
All this time, our education, our upbringing has encouraged us to take conservative, safe take a neutral, moderate go with the flow, to stick with what you know...

But maybe the time has come to, in Robert Frost's words, to take the road less travelled. Maybe, it's time to digress from the usual comfortable path, take a risk, make a stand and pick a side! Maybe, it's time to take all we KNOW and DO something about it.

Maybe, it's time for change...

So, what is ONE vote? It's a 2-second act of determining our future. It's a 2-second act of marking an X for Change.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Goodbye Charles... Goodbye Keith...

One early Sunday Morning  in 2011

"Hey I think I left my bag in the car...with my purse in it safe?" asking my (then) boyfriend

"Trust in humanity sayang..." says he...


"Is that your car with the broken window??" me, sounding semi-hysterical...

Apparently it was. Someone had broken the car window and stolen my bag which contained my cherished Esprit umbrella, my Body Shop lip balm and the most felt, my one-week old Charles & Keith purse which will always hold a special place in my heart for not staying long enough...

For once in my life, I wasn't crying incessantly or cursing the thief to eternal damnation nor was I praying that I'd get an instant miracle and I'll get my things immediately (all of the above has never been proven to work and yet I never fail to jump from one emotion to another, regret, rage and hope...). But this time, surprisingly, I felt nothing!

It could have been the self-help books that am reading now as part of my job requirements or maybe I just grew up...I don't know...but somehow I kept thinking of the incident and the thief...and I kept thinking only one thing, just one question which I couldn't grasp the answer to...

"Why did they do it?"

Why? Was it the lure of potential riches? Although I do not think that my RM 60 can be considered as riches.

Was it the temptation of adrenaline rushing through the veins when rules are broken and the law is flouted?

Or was it just a sadistic, masochistic desire to deprive others of their belongings (and peace of mind)?

What was running in their minds? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013



Everyone seems to have one to define identify them...MBBS, MD, Ir., PJA, SPGP, SSM, SMN, PMN, Y.B., Y.A.B., et cetera, et cetera...Some denotes profession, some titles and some awards...

I have my own set of acronyms myself! 

When I was 5, I was PiTB - Short for Pain in The Butt. If my darling brother wants to know how his LEGO pieces ended behind the cupboard, that was me...(coz he never shared!)

When I was 10, I was ECNG - English-speaking, Cocky New Girl  where only one other person in the whole school, understood my sarcasm enough to hate me...Owh and that was my sister.

By 15, I was BBW - Bespectacled, Book Worm. (I still am...except now I wear lenses). 

3 years later at 18, I was DaSaSfSTPM - Depressed and Suicidal and Sitting for STPM

At 23, I was IL - In Love

When I graduated at 24, I wanted to be CSI (Crime Scene Investigator) but I could only be MLT (Medical Lab Technician) so I joined M-MAP (Maxis Management Associate Programme) and became an MA (Management Associate).

Yesterday I graduated. So, I lost an acronym. Not an MA (Management Associate) anymore. 

No choice but to be content with just being mrs. Lee Yin Jong, SPAD (Self-proclaimed adorable daughter) of my parents, AS (Awesome Sister) to my siblings and WTF (Well-meaning, Trustworthy, Faithful) to my friends...

Now and Always,
SNK (Seemingly Normal Kid)

Monday, February 4, 2013


My double tall, wet, vanilla latte tasted nothing of the extra espresso shot, had more foam than shaving cream and didn't even have a whiff of vanilla...But I had left the store... it took too much time and effort to go back and get my drink re-done and so, I walked away with my (imperfect) drink. Well whatever! Next time it'll be better. Did it get better? Yep...only when one day I decided to take the time and effort and go back to the counter and request for it to be re-made to order. Worth the hassle? the last drop. The price of the latte, RM 10.

A prominent coffee house promised an organiser for every 15 drinks purchased. I made 15 purchases and went to claim my 'free' gift but was told that it was out of stock. I walked away with an unfulfilled promise. Well whatever! I'll get it at a different store. Did I? Yep...only after writing emails to the Malaysian Customer Service, the American Counterpart (franchiser) and posting on the Facebook wall of the local store and the American Store. The price of the organiser (by number of drinks), about RM 150.

I bought a house and obtained a loan from a local branch of an International Bank. They failed to disburse the funds on time and I incurred late fee charges. I was assured by the bank that it would be returned. Well whatever! The bank will sort it out. Did they? Yep...only after multiple visits to the bank manager, countless emails and phone calls and finally a letter to the newspaper got me my money back. The amount, about RM 835.

For every time I stood up and demanded what was rightfully mine, there were countless other times that I just chose to turn a blind eye and walk away. Why? Well, it's just a few Ringgit. Not worth my time, not to mention the effort. But, I'm not the only one. Everyone has done it at some point of their lives. 

We have meals at swanky restaurants but when they get the orders wrong or deliver food late...well whatever! At least I got it...eventually...Why waste time filling in the feedback form?

We pay TNB and water bills monthly but when there are the occasional disruption in power and water supply, well whatever! it's just a day...Why waste the time and effort to write-in an official complaint?

We pay our taxes, but when it's blatantly misused...well whatever! It's not only my pockets their digging into...why waste time speaking up about it?

Well, one day, it's going to be more than just a few Ringgit, one day, it might just be something personal...a waiter mixes up the order and serves peanuts to my peanut-allergic daughter, a corrupt politician who signs my rights away in parliament or even a poorly managed power supply that burns out on the night of Downton Abbey and Suits (O...the horror!)

One day, the 'whatever!' attitude is going to come back to haunt me...and it will be too late to make reparations then.

So, I'm going to fill in that feedback form, send that email, write that letter and speak out when things are not right...and I'm going to do it NOW!

It's not for the money...It's for my rights!