Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Don't Worry", Life Goes On

It seems like a really long time since I published anything. Actually there is a whole lot of backlog drafts which I never seems to get down to completing. They are getting stale, I must admit. Still there are some things which I want to share in them.
I finally see a specialist for my Gastro-reflux. All my worries over the past days of having a tube pushed down my throat comes to nothing. There isn't any endoscope or whatsoever-scope needed for the doctor to tell me there is no cure for it. That's it. No heal-it-all remedy. The only way for me to go is to take long term medication in the hope of suppressing my symtoms which had been getting worse from year to year. It was comforting that he tell me "don't worry" and patted me assurringly.
Different batches of work had been forthcoming in the past month. Continuously with very short breaks in between. It was good working on different templates for a change. We had just finished the last lot of data entry. I felt rested. Strange. Today, I seem to have all the extra energy needed to type. Where did all that energy come from? Normally, by this time, I would be tired out. And normally, I would be dead tired after a trip to the doctor by the Home ambulances.
We had to stop working temporary to pack up the computer room. A week from now, we are moving out of this room. Our computers will temporary be housed at the Residential therapy room. On the 28th, the contractors will start tearing down all the cupboards and hacking up the place. The Home is doing a major facelift for the computer room and the handicraft room next to it. They have in mind a new layout which we weren't too keen about. After all that we had to say, we could only keep our fingers crossed. It will be two months or so before we move back. Fortunately, the internet will be set up at the Therapy Room so that we can still have access and continue using the computers. Can you imagine life without computers and internet? I'm afraid I can't!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


For Read! Singapore 2009, one of the event is a reading marathon to set a 144 hours of reading aloud non-stop record in the Book Of Records. The week long event (3rd July 1 p.m. - 9th July 09 1 p.m.) is held at The Plaza @ the National Library, Victoria Street. We took part in the reading marathon today.

Under the group name "Wheels of Knowledge and Friends", Nantha Kumar, Chong Choo and I each had to do a half hour of reading aloud. There were 3 other wheelchair-users in our group. The timer on the panel on stage was clocking the 47th hour of reading when we arrived. Serangoon Garden Secondary School was doing the reading. The girl must be dry in her throat from reading aloud. I could hear the rasp in her voice but she continued to read well. I began to worry if I could do the same. Afterall I've never read aloud for long stretches of time and I do get breathless if I'm tired. Initiately, Chong Choo was to read at 1, Nantha at 2 and I would be reading at 3 p.m. with someone else taking over in between. But on hearing that we hadn't taken lunch, the organisers kindly rearrange our time slot so that we could finish one after the other. We were called to go onstage for a group photo shoot after which they seated us accordingly with readied mics. After a very short introduction of our names to the audiences, we took over the reading at 1 p.m. At an average of 13 pages each, we finished 2 stories and a half in the book titled "Dreams and Choices". Just 15 minuites into my reading, the wicked witch of my imagination cast a spell over my throat. It was as dried up as a piece of patchment left too long in the sun. I strived on. Nearing the end, I gladly took a sip of water which my volunteer held out to me. Perhaps she noticed the raspiness in my voice. Ah! How soothing, and refreshing, and precious is the sip of water. I did my turn and joined Nantha and Chong Choo below. They had won something in a draw and would collect their prize at a later date. We had lunch at the Cafe where we order anything from sandwiches to set meal. Lunch at 2.30 p.m. might as well be tea. Sandwiches was a good choice for me. We stayed on for some time after our break and took our leave at 4 p.m. Andrew, our volunteer driver for the day, had us worrying when the Home van died on the way out of the underground carpark. God helped us. The engine got going again after serveral trials and we returned home without any mishap.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Unlucky Day with One Big Blessing

What luck we have today!
First my handphone got locked after just 2 error trials entering the security PIN code. (I thought they allow more, my old handphone allowed 4 errors).
Next, the internet went down (and stayed that way for a whole day) when I got energy and inpiration for blogging.
In the evening, Peng Mun's right side back tire tore and the inner tube ballooned.
Last, but not least, his handphone hung. No matter what he did, Peng Mun couldn't get the phone to respond. It wouldn't even be switched off.
I was to find out later that someone else in the Home labeled the day "black" too. She called it a
horrible, unlucky, black day. That same day, something horrible happened for her too.
To be fair, this day didnt start out all that horrid. It began with something good. Mr. Harry Tan came back to volunteering after recovering from an ailment which was life threatening for him. To see him back was a relief and a joy for all of us who had been worrying for him over this period of time. Mr. Tan has been volunteering for the Home for more than 3 years now. His loud hearty laughter was an advertisement of his presence and residents waste no time in asking him for help in all sorts of purchase. He was always running back an forth buying food and grocery for us and doing some odd job, always going an extra mile. Mr. Tan shares openly and it is a known fact that he has bad medical records relating to coronary artery disease.
"Anytime, I may just drop dead," he was always telling us. Yet he affirmed that he finds happiness in coming and volunteering. We thought he'd burnt himself out soon enough, but he kept going and proving us wrong. Many times he tired himself out and we kept reminding him to take it easy and learn to say 'no' sometime--something which he don't know how to do. He wasn't afraid of death but was only afraid that he would not outlive his mother. He didn't want a broken hearted mother crying over him.
"I pray hard, God will take my mother first."
Thursday, 23rd April, while he was still away in Genting, his mother met with a fatal accident and passed away on the spot. After that it so happened that Mr. Tan got ill and was hospitalised with a life threatening condition. We did not know what to make of it and was anxious. Praying for Mr. Tan was all that we can do. We were happy to see him again. That's one great blessing for the day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Visit to Istana and Getting E51

"When my batteries ran out, you gotta push me," I told Dehong, my good brother/volunteer. We made an appointment to explore Istana on Labour Day. I'm going in my motorised chair.
We weren't the only late ones meeting Dehong at the park, Shet Fen outdid us by arriving after us. We needn't wait long to take a bus and the MRT to Plaza Singapura though. We had a lunch treat from Dehong using his Kopitiam cash-free card. Joined by Li Lian and her boyfriend Zhi Rong, we headed for the Istana.
At 1 p.m. the queue was long at the entrance with temperture check for H1N1 virus symptoms. Peng Mun had a slightly higher temperature and was told to rest in the shade for a while. After the temperature check, a security check cleared us and we were free to roam the grounds.
It was an uphill walk from the entrance partially shaded by trees. After that, there was no escape from the scorching heat. A school millitary band was performing and we stopped to watch it.
When we reached the Istana building, Shet Fen bought tickets for us all to enter the Istana showroom. We were led to enter via the ramp at the side of the building. On display were valuable gifts from dignities around the world: swords, daggers, miniture ship models, ornamental boxes. The volunteers at the Istana were told to look after us and we complied by putting our motorise chair in manual mode and being pushed from room to room. In the comfort of the air-conditioned interior, we took our time to view the state meeting room, the dining area and the sitting area. There were many beautiful art pieces which I took time admiring too.
Back in the hot sun, we squint our eyes looking at the camera while Dehong tried to take pictures of us at every prestigious angle. We sweated buckets and seeked relief in the shady plant shelter around the fountain garden. Dehong was glad that the walk out was downhill as he put my chair on manual to save my battery energy.
We returned to Plaza Singapura and I found what I had been looking for at Carrefour: non-slip bath-mats. (I'd exhausted all shops in AMK hunting for them.) After having cold desserts at Ice Monster, we parted ways and returned to AMK Hub with Dehong.
I wanted to renew my M1 contract and get a Nokia E51. The salesgirl at the AMK Hub M1 shop was rather unhelpful and indifferent towards us. Perhaps she thought we would be a waste of her time. I became really annoyed only when she continued treating me like a dummy after I proceed to make a purchase. Her attitute dampened my spirit and I regreted doing the purchase with her. Just some shops away is Planet Telecom dealing with Nokia products. There, a really nice and friendly salesman Roy paid attention to us and made very satisfied customers out of us. I was happy to get my bluetooth headset from his shop.
It was 9 p.m. when we sat down to dinner at AMK Block 453 market.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Casual Meeting on a Sunday Morning

Cousin Yu Zhu and Xiao Gu (Aunt)
Not feeling too good, I skipped going to church today and least expectedly bumped into my relatives who had absolutely no idea about where I exist on this vast island. They came in a big group from the Mahabodhi Monastery where they are volunteers. It was Mrs. Masie Ko, one of our Management Committee member, who brought them to the Home.
Xiao Gu (Mandarin term for addressing father's youngest sister) had just walked by my room when I came out of it to accept and thank the visitors for the Yakult they were giving out. Xiao Gu recognized my voice and turned around. As for me, my thoughts didn't go further than 'She's got a face that look like someone I've seen.
"Ain't you Mook Lin's daughter?" she asked. Anyone calling my father by name must be a relative. The 'match it' cells in my brain were slow but quick enough I recognized her. Beside her, however, stood a cousin whom I had not met. After being introduced, I tagged along with the group and naturally made of myself their tour guide. Mrs. Ko had known Xiao Gu and cousin Yu Zhu for quite a long time and was amazed to be told of our relationship. It is a small world after all and if not for my being home on this day, we would not have met. God could have planned the surprise all along.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Memory Lane at Changi Village

The food was good but lunch at the Changi Village hawker centre was hot and stuffy. I wasn't feeling too well and had a loss of appetite. The weather was hot as hot can be. We must be crazy to go to the beach in this weather. Yet, how refreshing it is to be by the sea.
Peng Mun and I strolled leisurely on the boardwalk while Dee wandered on the sandy beach a little distance away delighting in little finds: a little pearly shell became my keepsake, a tiny crab in perfect shape until we broke its dried and brittled pincers trying to move it, a small starfish on a stone step was dried and spiky to the feel.
Our 2 hours' stroll took us from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to the Changi Sailing Club. Along the stretch we passed the Civil Service Club where the Singapore Cheshire Home used to be from 1976 to 1984. I was admitted to the Home in 1983 and had a room with the front veranda looking out towards the cape, the Changi Beach Park. Many of our staff back then were the local Malays who had to take the bum boat from Pulau Ubin to come to work; a good thing the Ferry Terminal was so near.
Dark clouds gathered in the horizon when we looked back the way we came. Anyway, we could go no further. The boardwalk continued beyond the Sailing Club begining with a step up; accessibilty denied to wheelchairs users.:(
We made a U-turn and took the pavement by the road. This took us pass the old Changi Hospital and once again my memories was brought back to the old days when residents were sick and admitted to the hospital. Some residents needed special care and the hospital being so near to the Home, the caring attendants went the extra mile to bring them back for bath and toileting needs. Many residents had travelled this same path to the hawker centre to get kopi-o, roti john, fishball mee-hoon and the likes either for themselves or for their fellow residents.
The pavement here are lined with old angsana trees that are home to many parrots. We spotted green and red Eclectus (males and females) and white cockadoos and almost bumped into a hunging spider. It was a walk amid nature.
We didn't want to go back to the stuffy hawker centre, so we settled down at Milli's for dinner. The food didn't meet our expectation. I was running a fever then and Dee cooled me down with ice and a fan blowing directly on me. I didn't want to go home yet. I haven't seen fireflies flashing in the night all my life and the previous time when we went to Changi in the day, I saw many bugs that could possibly be fireflies. Transport would come at 8 and I held on to my hopes of seeing fireflies. We crossed the bridge to Changi Beach Park.
The sun had set and a gentle breeze was blowing in from the sea refreshing everyone. Strangers exchanged friendly smiles. Relaxed, everyone was feeling happy. The transport came puncturely at 8 p.m. I didn't see a single firefly but happy, relaxed and feeling much better, I sang with Dee on our way home. We would go there again, I promised.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day and Growing Old

I feel old when I'm tired out and weak. I mean really really old. I'd imagine myself to be a 90 year old lady and tried to feel less frustrated at my weakness. Then also I could empathise with old people and offer up my feelings to God for them and for my old Grandma at home. Grandma is close to 90 now. Thank God she's still able to walk, though a little unsteadily.
Today the thought of getting older had not crossed my mind. Today I turned forty one and felt good, young and energetic. Yet eminently today I stumbled upon passages and verses that set me to think and remind me not to think that age is a bothering factor. Ha ha ha! First the Our Daily Bread reading for today "Too Old?" stared me in my face. The Bible passage reading come from Genesis 17:15-22. God was telling Abraham to expect a son by Sarah, his lawful wife. Abraham was then a hundred years old and Sarah was 90. Yet God proved that nothing was too hard for Him. God fulfils every promise He made in His time. When all seem without hope, there is always hope in God and faith in Him will carry us through.
Dee surprised me with a bouquet delivery and a message that goes:
and remember.............."age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
All my love, Dee OOOXXX
I'm not that old, am I!!???
Thank you God for friends that worry and fret lest I think I'm getting too old.