Friday, 30 November 2007

Postnatal Depression: What Are We Doing?...




From the Anne Geddes Collection...I love her work (posters, photos, diaries, plush toys etc)...Anyone know of shops selling them in Malaysia, do inform me!




Today I want to share with you a story I learnt while volunteering in the Neonates Ward in the hospital...


During my two week break a while back, I went back to the hospital to volunteer...Somehow, being away, makes me miss those little kuti babies =)



In one of the nurseries, I saw two identical babies in cots side-by-side...Above their heads, their BHT's (Bed-Head-Ticket) were labelled 'Twin One' and 'Twin Two'...





Twins!



I was busy cooing at them when one of the twins put his tongue out at me, and broke into a grin...Now, from my very little experience, I knew this was definitely not a newborn, because newborns don't stick their tongue out at you, and they don't mimic facial expressions...



True enough, I checked and they were slightly over two months old...

So, why were they still in the nursery? After all, they were not jaundiced, and they were feeding well, and they looked like they were growing just fine! And both twins still in the hospital???


And then the nurses told me the story...



Their mother, a teacher, was a first-time mother...And she was suffering from postnatal-depression...



She refused to take the babies home, and she said (according to the nurses) she wanted to give her babies up because she can't cope...In the first few days, she even refused to touch her babies...



To be honest, I don't even remember what race they were...After all, I see so many babies and twins, and having no names yet, it is harder to remember them individually...Anyway, their race was immaterial...It was their story that caught my eye...



The nurses told me the pakar of the ward had stated she wasn't going to release the babies until the mother was ready...In the meantime, the mother was being given counselling, and the nurses were helping her to become more in-tuned with her maternal instincts...





Think all babies are like cartoon-figured who feed themselves? Nope! You gotta hold them properly, feed them, burp them...




Like teaching her how to cuddle her babies (twins are usually born much smaller than other babies), breastfeed them, clean them, dress them and teaching her how to communicate with them...


I came back and told my mum about the babies, and how their own mother said she did not want them...




In retrospect, I realised that postnatal depression is a very real thing...There are still many stigmas attached to it, but really, it can strike just about anyone, regardless of race or background...

Many people sometimes think it only affects those very young mothers, or those who are 'uneducated', or those who have babies out-of-wedlock, and the list goes on...




But the truth is, it can happen to anyone! This lady was a lady in her thirties, with a loving husband (or so I was told), and she was already financially secure...She is an educated lady, who taught Chemistry in High School (again, so I was told)...



*Note: When I returned to the hospital a month later, the babies had been discharged and last I heard, mum and babies are doing well!*




Anyway, imagine...

It's your first baby, and suddenly you realise you are getting two, instead of one! And suddenly, you realise you weren't all that ready to be a mother after all...






If you've never bathed a newborn before, it can be scary...




I learnt that we, as a society can do so much to help them...And maybe if we did, we wouldn't see so many babies being dumped and abandoned...Just because their mothers were probably not ready to raise little babies on their own!



But what happens when a baby gets dumped? We point fingers and we assume things (hey, I won't lie and be holy-moly...I've done it):-


Oh, not married lar!

Oh, not responsible lar!

Oh, no heart lar!




But did we think that maybe, just maybe, these mothers were suffering from depression? Maybe they were overwhelmed? Maybe they weren't getting the support they needed from their spouses, friends and family? Incidentally, don't their spouses share a portion of the 'blame'?!?



I am just thinking, if we only had doctors and nurses who took it upon themselves to help these mothers...If we only had (more) NGO's and volunteers who would reach out and help these mothers come to terms with the birth, the struggles that come with it, and to help these mothers look beyond their own short-comings, and embrace motherhood...



Motherhood is a very big journey...A simple thing like changing a diaper may be very difficult for someone who has never done so...Throw that in with the fact that some children are born so tiny, they are only a a kilo or two! How do you expect a lady to change her baby if she is not sure how to carry the child in the first place!






Aren't some babies tiny?




I can carry an premmie-infant as small as 1 kilo (about the size of my palm), and tiub-feed, change, dress and clean the little darling...

But I didn't always start out like that...I had to learn...I needed people to teach me, and to give me the assurance that I was doing the right thing...



Which is why we need more people who would do the right thing, and stop pointing fingers...The nurses and doctors of the neonatal ward are a shining example of compassionate human beings, and responsible ones too...*Clap Clap*

They could have said: "Pah! Your baby, your problem! We have newborns to worry about"...

But they didn't...



Maybe we can all do something too...


Doesn't have to be much...





We can offer to do baby's laundry!



For example, we could offer to show a neighbour who is a first-time mum how to bathe her child...We could give the new-mother a few hours of rest by offering to babysit for a while...We could help by helping the new-mother to do the laundry...At least, until she gets the 'hang' of it...=)


It is just to remind these mothers that they are not alone, and that help is available...



Of course, that is just me...

What do you think?




Note: All photos were taken from the web...No photography is allowed in the Neonate Wards, as children and infants have rights too!


Sunday, 25 November 2007

The Bloody Pressure...


An acquaintance I recently saw again said something the other day:-

"We have all been hearing about young people living with diabetes...But what about other supposedly 'old-people' diseases? Are there young people who live with it? What is it like getting these 'death sentences' early in life?"



I've been thinking about it...So, today, I'll tell you about something you don't read about often: An example of young people living with Hypertension...




Hypertension is called the silent killer for a reason...It is called the silent killer because there are often no symptoms, so most people don't realise they are suffering from it...By the time symptoms start to show, it might already be too late...





So what is sooo dangerous about hypertension? It is dangerous because it affects many vital organs (and systems) in the body, just like diabetes...Hypertension affects the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, the arteries, and the brain, just to name a few...



There are many people living with hypertension, and 90% of people suffering from hypertension have a condition known as Essential (or Idiopathic) Hypertension, which is a hypertension of unknown aetiology (reason)...But 10% of people suffer from something called Secondary Hypertension, which is a form of Hypertension caused by something else gone wrong...




Now back to the issue of young people living with hypertension...



Remember my friend S, who has a BMI of about 21, and was found to have a resting blood pressure of 150/105 at the age of 19? Well, till today, doctors don't know what is wrong with her...Some think it is Essential Hypertension manifesting as a fluke too early, too soon; Some think it is Secondary Hypertension...



The problem, is, which Secondary Hypertension?




She has been through the mill, from doctor to doctor, from clinic to clinic, from test to test...The only thing the doctors can agree on, is that there is something wrong, but they cannot agree on what that something is...




Do you know that today, at the fresh age of 22, S is on 3 different medications to fight her crazy blood pressure? And even then, the blood pressure is erratic, and has been known to fluctuate between a normal 110/70 to a high 160/115? When she is resting, mind you...




There are many things that S wants to do, but it is often not possible...



Why? Because a few things stand in the way...



For example, one of her medications, a Beta Blocker, make her tired too often, too soon...She can't run with her friends, or go to the gym, or go on a leisurely track up the hill...She wants to, but her body can't cope with the work...Because her medications cause her heart to slow down...

Which is the complete opposite of what is needed during exercise, right? When you exercise, you need you heart to pump faster to pump more blood to supply more oxygen, which would in turn give you more energy...But her medications do not allow her heart to pump as fast to cope with the increasing demand for oxygen...



It is sad, in a way...Young, and not able to join your friends when they decide to go say, bungee-jumping or something...Hey, even a hike up the hill is difficult...




Secondly, because her blood pressure is erratic, doctors have advised S against doing anything too strenous or out-of-the-ordinary, because they don't know how her body will be able to cope...So her parents are always worried if she might collapse...



S has to see the doctors every month, while they keep a hawk's eye over her blood pressure...The doctors have declared she will have to see them regularly for life...*Yucks*


She also has to take medication for life...She is already taking 3 now...I wonder how many she will take when she is, say, 50 years-old? *Shudder*


S also has to go for regular blood tests, and regular screening of certain body systems (like kidney and eyes) to make sure her blood pressure hasn't damaged them...


She also has to take her blood pressure regularly at home...Sometimes, when it is very high, she will be left with bruises on her arm from the deathly grip of the pressure cuff...


She is also firm friends with the ice-pack! Because headaches are also her friend (although this may not be directly related to the blood pressure)...




But I think the worst thing is this: How her blood pressure will affect her future chances of having a baby of her own?


After all, chronic hypertension increases your chances of getting preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)...Her numerous medications also are of serious danger to a fetus in her womb, which means to safeguard the baby, she will need to stop her medications...


And stopping medications, will be detrimental to her...Doctors call people like S as people with high-risk pregnancies...





Hmmm...I don't know about you...But I never wondered what it must be like to have to watch your diet all the time (low salt, low fat, high rabbit-food), watch your weight all the time, worry about whether trying some new exercise/sport etc might make you collapse, or having to pop pills every morning like eating candy...


Quite yucky huh?



Here we have always read about how we should keep our blood pressure at around 120/80 to be healthy...Here we keep hearing about how if you have blood pressure that is higher than that continuously, you are at a higher risk of getting a/an aneurysm, stroke, heart attack or kidney failure...


Did you know that a perpetual increase of 20 mmHg Systolic (upper number) and/or 10 mmHg Distolic (lower number) doubles your chance of a heart attack?!?




Imagine what it must be like to be 22+, and know that you can't really control your blood pressure, and know that you are a big potential time-bomb for all the risk factors, and still have to do well in school, have a social life and still dream of a great future...




I guess we often take the simple but important things in life for granted, huh? We often do not appreciate these simple but important things until we don't have them anymore...

I mean, how many of us wake up in the morning and wonder whether our blood pressure will behave? We just take it for granted that, aiya, it's fine and working the way it is supposed to, isn't it? The same goes for the heart and the kidneys and the liver and the brain and the whole works...





Well, for some people, it doesn't...



But...Life goes on...

And, I am sure it will go on for S...






Friday, 23 November 2007

"Don't You Go Anywhere"...



Hi Guys,


Sorry I've been rather silent with the blog and with emails...

I've been down with some annoying allergy attack for the past two weeks or so...At the height of it, I look like Rudolph-the-Red-Nose-Reindeer + a Panda Bear involved in a fight + a Puffer Fish who just puffed up!

Not a pretty sight...=)



Anyway, I wanted to share another Calvin & Hobbes strip that I love...It shows the side of Calvin that we don't really often get to see...The gentle, loving side of him, who is not so full of himself ;)...

I've highlighted the parts I especially like...




I guess at this age, Mum's are infallible...=)
But even Mum's have an inner child!
Calvin is back! Even if just for a while...
Like a child, the world still revolves around him...=)
Hobbes, Hobbes...=)
Awww...
Again, Awww...
Don't we all ask the same questions of Why?
Well said, Calvin Dear...




Haih...Isn't the little rascal such a dear?



Anyway, to echo Calvin, Don't you guys go anywhere too!


At, least, not yet, k?




Note: Click on the strip(s) to get a larger version =)...



Monday, 19 November 2007

MedicAlert: It Speaks When You Can't...





Hey guys...


I thought I'd share something here today...


Now, I am sure many of you have heard of MedicAlert Foundation International, a life-saving identification service, which has gained quite some ground overseas...MedicAlert, as it is known, is actually available in Malaysia, although a lot of people don't realise it...Even many Government Hospitals don't know the contact number (or the existence!) of this service...


Anyway, I thought I'd share some information about it here, just in case any one of you out there would like to get it, either for yourself or someone you know =)




Just some background info:-



You should consider MedicAlert® if:-

1) You have any type of hidden medical condition
2) You have an allergy
3) You take regular medication
4) You have had any type of implant
5) You would like your blood group to be recorded
6) You have a living will or wish to be an organ donor


For full list, click here...






Bracelet: One of two designs available in Malaysia...




People overseas also use MedicAlert to able medical personnel to get in touch with their next-of-kin in times of emergency. Some also use it to inform authorities if they are the sole care-giver of a person (example: elderly, handicap, special-needs individual etc).

I don't know if anyone in Malaysia uses it for this (latter) purpose...




So why get MedicAlert? Because you might not be in a position to inform doctors of your medical problems (say, you fainted, or you met with an accident)...

It also saves medical personnel valuable time from finding out if you have any medical problem, eliminates unnecessary testing, and it might save your life when it comes to allergies...




The MedicAlert has your medical details, plus a serial number engraved on the back of the tag...It covers the basics like medical condition, blood group, medication and allergies...

Your full details are stored in the HQ...In Malaysia, that would be University Malaya's Medical Centre (UMMC)...All the medical personnel needs to do to access your records in an emergency is to call the emergency hotline and quote your reference number, and they can even get your doctors' contacts and next-of-kin for further reference...





I have one concern though: I wonder if medical personnel and those personnel first-on-the-scene are trained to look out for MedicAlert identification in Malaysia...

I sure hope so...





Pendant: The second design available in Malaysia...





The contact number for MedicAlert Malaysia is:-

Office: +603-79609176
Fax: +603-79601355
Emergency (24-hours) hotline: +603-79575111



For MedicAlert Malaysia, click here...

To download the form (PDF), click here...




PS: On a different note, here is an excellent website with a list of practically every imaginable drugs and supplements in existence...Visit it to know more about the stuff you are being prescribed and those you consume from Over-The-Counter (OTC)...It never hurts to know more of what you are popping into your body!




Thursday, 15 November 2007

That Which We Call A Rose...




Flower of One Garden...



You know what I really love?

Roses...I really love roses...


The scent, the sight, the velvety touch, although perhaps not the thorns ;)





Perhaps my favourite-st quilt set, which has a splash of roses at the end...





Did you know there are about 150 different species (with over 30 000 varieties!) of roses in the world and that they were cultivated as garden plants since about 5 000 years ago?

Did you also know that legend has it that the word 'rose' came from the Greek God of Love, Eros (son of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love), whose name, when re-arranged, is Rose? It is probably because of this that roses are a symbol of love!



Eros also gave the rose to the God of Silence, Harpocrates, to bribe him to conceal the weaknesses of the gods...

It is postulated that this is the reason why the rose became a symbol of secrecy during the Roman Empire...In Rome, when confidential matters were discusses, a wild rose would be placed on the door of the room. The phrase sub rosa, or 'under the rose', means to keep a secret and it has its origins from this ancient Roman practice...



Hey, remember how Cleopatra once greeted Marc Anthony on a carpet of rose petals eighteen inches deep? Love it really is! =)


Of course, roses also play a very important role in the many religions of the world, which I won't go into here (too many lar)...That Shakespeare dude too made many references to the flower...





The posy of English-y roses in my bathroom...




But to me, the rose is symbolic of the human species...The rose comes with many layers (petals, sepals, ovary, hip etc), and isn't it a wonderful analogy of humankind? Don't we come in many shapes, sizes, colours and 'uses' (talents, professions, contributions etc)? And aren't we all more beautiful when we are together?


Just like the rose, we would not be as powerful or beautiful if we were isolated...

The rose is also very fragile, and not so tahan lasak...But if dried properly, it lasts for years...



Aren't we all like that too? With proper care, education, and support, don't we all grow old and age with wisdom too? But if unity isn't preserved, humankind would crumble too...





Part of my bathroom cabinet...



On a personal note, I dig rose-themed thingies...Quilt sets, hair-clips, pot pourri, writing-pads, and the list goes on...=)

My dad even recently gave me a bottle of Rose-Scented Bath Gel, while my mum gave me a bottle of Rose Perfume, and I absolutely love it!


Now all I don't have currently is a bouquet of fresh roses...


Mum says: "Get a boyfriend!"

Daphne says: "Boohoo...But nobody want!" ;)


Haha...





A lovely rose...



As a parting note, here's a virtual rose to all the readers of this blog, as a celebration of the wonderful friendship that has been cultivated just by sharing in each other's lives through this virtual thing called a blog...


*Hugs*


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Kids Say The Funniest Stuff...



Heard at a short-quiz during a party for 9 year-old's just an hour ago:-



Question 1:-

Who is Malaysia's Prime Minister?


Answer(s):-


Child 1: Tun Abdul Mahathir.

Child 2: Tunku Mahathir Badawi.

Child 3: Abdul Badawi.

Child 4: Dr Seri Ahmad Badawi.



*Argue loudly among themselves*



Heard very clearly:-


Child 1: You stupid lar.

Child 2: No, you stupid.

Child 3: I more clever.



*Argument stops*



Child 1: Abdullah Ahmad Badawi...

Child 2: No lah stupid. It's Pak Lah...



*Daphne laughs*



Question 2:-

Who was the Prime Minister before this one?


Answer(s):-


Child 1: Tunku Mohamad.

Child 2: Datuk Mahathir.

Child 3: Tun Dr Mahathir Abdullah.

Child 4: Dr Mahathir Something.



*Daphne was tempted to say: Apa Nama?*


Haha...


Don't kids say the funniest things?

Oh well, they're 9 years-old...When Tun Dr M stepped down, they were about 5 years-old...I think he'll forgive them!


Sunday, 11 November 2007

Starry, Starry Night...







Today I thought I'd share one song I've always loved...


It is a beautiful piece, written by Don McLean as a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. Many people also know this song as 'Starry Starry Night', a reference to Van Gogh's painting Starry Night.

The song describes a different painting by Van Gogh in each of its stanzas.


Starry, starry night
Paint your pallet blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flow'rs that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds of violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of China blue

And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget

Like the stranger that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

And now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They're not listening still
Perhaps they never will



I love this piece for a myriad of reasons...



One reason is that it shows that everyone is different, but because society is so conforming, we fail to recognise the beauty in each of us...Because we always strive to be like everyone else...

Here was a man who was different, but instead of embracing him (and helping him), society drove him to suicide...


Sometimes, all we have to do is listen, sincerely...And that can make all the difference...


Suhaini Aznam (of The Star) once said: "When someone falls to his death, it is not the person's failure in life. It is society’s failure to listen to him"...

How true...



Another reason is that really, all it takes is one person to make a change, if what you do comes from the heart...Look at how Van Gogh forever changed the world of art with his lovely paintings; Look at how Don McLean changed the way the world saw Vincent Van Gogh...



Van Gogh was one person who saw the beauty in the simplest of things...Like the yellow of the daffodils, the blue of the sky, the chill of a winter morning, the every day people we meet and forget...He saw the inherent beauty in each of God's creations, and he immortalised them in his art...


And until today, we can relate to his work: The daffodils are still yellow, and the sky is still blue...

How beautiful and gifted is that?



I'm listening, Vincent...


Are you?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Moving On: Beyond The Little Shoe Box...




Staff Nurse Emi Sandora, me and Chee Keong, at the nurses' station...




I went shopping with mum today, and we went looking for a gift for my mum's friend who had recently had a baby...


The whole thing brought back bittersweet and warm memories, but it also gave me a lump in my throat...

Just being back in the baby section, looking at things a baby needs, seeing familiar looking clothes, toys, nappies, bottles and the like, it just felt so weird...





Chee Keong and me during happier times =)...

Note that he has a head bigger (proportionately speaking) than his body...He was about 2 years old, but had the development of a baby,..




I came home, and the first thing I did was go look under my bed for a Crocodile Shoe box that had been sitting there for about seven months; a box I had not had the courage to open for a while, because I could not bare to see what was inside...






The Crocodile Shoe Box...




It was a box of clothes my mum and I had picked out for Chee Keong about a month before he died...When we made plans to visit him, we were so excited...We went around buying all kinds of clothes in different colours for him, removed all the tags, washed them, and labeled them, all set to go...


And then I got the news he had passed on...And the whole box of clothes, along with the diapers, milk, nestum and bath gel went into hiding under my bed...I could not bare to look at them...

That is, until today...





The Blue Suit, with the yellow ducky (He had another yellow suit, no 'holes', which also had a yellow ducky)...





The cream-brown suit, with the teddy bears...






The light pink suit...He had the exact same one, in white, blue, light apple green, light yellow, and light orange...So we thought, why not get pink too? =)






The yellowish suit, with the sheep...






The 'prisoner' outfit...We thought it looked cute...






The white suit, with little mice! Some call Chee Keong anak tikus (because he was so tiny), so we thought it was cute...







The set of new towels mum bought for him, cos she thought his old one might have thinned out...






And the most special of all, the little Winnie the Pooh romper I bought for his 3rd Birthday...It still has the tags on =)





And all these clothes are now sitting in a box, labeled with CCK, and with no baby to wear them...And they're brand new.


I think it is time I give the clothes up, to some baby who needs it in the Pediatric Wards...I will keep a special look-out for OA (Orang Asli) children...


I remember just before Chee Keong left, my best friend Yean Mei and I went around handing some of Chee Keong's clothes out to the OA children...Some were brand new, some were worn only a few times, but we thought the OA children needed the clothes more than he would in the home for the handicapped...We also handed out (brand new) baby bottles...The look of gratefulness on the mothers' faces, was priceless...



I think maybe it is time to hand out clothes again, and hope that these clothes will help keep other babies warm (and cute!), and that the act of passing them on will keep his spirit alive...=)




But, I will keep the Winnie the Pooh romper for memories...I am gonna keep it to remind me of the little boy who didn't get to celebrate his 3rd Birthday, but who will be forever remembered, and loved...




*Note: A Happy Deepavali to all!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Nokia Helping Hands: The Finnish Puppetry Experience...


Sigh...


What a glorious way to start the holidays for me!


My parents came to pick me up from Penang on friday afternoon, and by evening I was back home. At 2.30 am, I left for KL on the KLIA-bound bus...


And at 6.00 am, I arrived there, and had breakfast at McD (and burnt my tongue) and by 7.15 am, I was aboard the KLIA Express heading to KL Sentral...




The question is, why was I going round the mulberry bush?



You see, about 1 week before, I received a call from PR-company Text 100, saying that *Nellie Abdullah, Nokia's Product Marketing Specialist (she also runs special events) is giving me a personal invitation to join some of Nokia's staff and members of the press on an excursion to some orphanages, homes and schools in and around Selangor to watch famous Finnish puppeteer Juha Laukkanen at work! The trip was part of Nokia's Helping Hands Progamme...






Me, Juha Laukkanen and his sorta assistant (she's a trainee with the Embassy of Finland) Outi Jurkkola...




Oh My...What an experience it was! Let me recap it as briefly as possible for you...





At the Al-Hidayah Islam Kindergarten, with Juha at work...



First, we stopped at Al-Hidayah Islam Kindergarten in Pasir Panjang (somewhere in Sabak Bernam), where I found a couple of kids on my lap, and another group surrounding me...I felt like some celebrity with a group of body-guards, so close they sat to me!





Snow! Made from shredded paper...I could only carry one child, unfortunately...



Juha's story was of Clara and the NutCracker...It was a great eye-opener for the kids to get to know another culture very different from theirs...The story of Clara and the NutCracker is set in Christmas Time...





Members of the press with Juha. The lady in the red scarf is Puan Khatijah Sulieman, President of Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor...



And while the press later surrounded Juha for the interview, I was busy getting to know the children, who were super cute and super nice...There was even a group of special children who were there to attend the show...





The group of special children and me...A few of them had Down Syndrome...




On the left, in the light purple Baju Melayu, is 14 year-old Hashim, who has Down Syndrome...He is bigger in size than me, so I thought I would call him Abang, although he was clearly younger than me...



That little 'title' left him so very happy, and when I said "Wa...Abang Hashim lar yang jaga adik-adik ni, ya?", he burst into a wide grin, and gave me a chokehold around the neck!





Little Izzati clearly had her plans...She followed me around throughout the day, and said, every few minutes: "Izzati sayang Kakak!"



Another little darling I met yesterday is little Jordan...Jordan is Patsy Kam's (of The Star) 5 year-old son...He had a tiny little 'tail' trailing down the back of his head!


He was really shy at the beginning, but the 2 hour or so journey from KL to the home helped him 'warm up' to me...



By the time we were at the home, we were firm friends! He chased me around the room, and after a while, I told him: "Jordan, Jie-Jie tired already lar. Want to rest"...

Jordan said, while leading me by the arm: "Ok, you stand here. We will charge you (took my hand and put it into an imaginery plug)"

Me: ??? "But rosak already."

Jordan: "It's ok! We can program you again!"

Me: ??? *Wah lau, kids nowadays*






Just before leaving...From left: Patsy Kam (The Star), little Jordan (tired already!), and me...



Lunch was cooked and provided for. They even gave us crab! But unfortunately for me, my braces prevented me from actually eating them (I would have made a terrible mess)...The sambal was wonderful though....


After lunch, some members of the press left, while the rest of us made our way to the next home...As we had finished way ahead of the planned time, we made a pit stop at the Kuala Selangor Rest House for some tea (yeah lor, makan lagi!)...



The view was amazing at the top of the hill...Simply breathtaking...And there were monkeys everywhere! Although they were relatively tamer than the Penang Botanical Gardens' Monkeys...The concensus is that monyet bandar lebih ganas!





We had some visitors: About 8 monkeys joined us at the big tree near our table...The little monkey with his mummy...Don't ask how come the colour is different...All the babies were yellowish!





Up close!




Our next stop was the Kuala Selangor Tunas Harapan Homes...These homes had a very interesting concept...They had some land, where there was a Hall for the kids and their activities, coupled with a sepak-takraw/ badminton/ volleyball kind of court, and at one side were 4-5 little homes...



Each home was run by a couple...The interesting thing was that if the couple is Chinese, they would foster only Chinese children (about 5 in each home)...Likewise, an Indian couple would foster Indian children, and the Malay couple would foster Malay children...

All the couples were screened properly before being entrusted with the responsibility, and they were given freedom (to some extent) in allowing to bring up the children according to the customs of their respective races...Each home was furnished like typical (I suppose you could say traditional) Chinese/ Malay/ Indian homes...



The system was really great...In this way, the children of different races grow up together, and yet, they do not lose their own culture!





The Tunas Harapan Homes children had a 'uniform' (for special occasions)...Although the pattern and material were the same, the Malays wore their Kurung and Baju Melayu, the Indians in Punjabi suits etc...





The children of this home were much older than the kids from the kindergarten, and clearly understood the story line much better...They were also more 'bold' and outgoing (I am thinking because of the ages)...

Some of the boys even rubbed Juha's tummy when they passed him!



Altogether, it was great experience...I never thought puppetry was like that, having been used to hand and glove puppets (think Muppets), marionettes and Punch and Judy...So it was a wonderful eye-opener for me too...




The journey back from KL to Ipoh was a disastrous one...There was a massive bumper-to-bumper crawl for quite a while...To make up for lost time, the bus driver drove like a maniac and kept hitting the brakes! I was holding onto my seat for dear life...Even than, I reached Ipoh one hour late...


But at least I was safe!




*Note: Nellie could not make it for the event because her mother passed away on the 2nd of November (the day before the event). This blog owner would like to offer her deepest condolences to Nellie and her family for their loss.


Friday, 2 November 2007

The Clothes of Love, Hope and Faith...


Sigh...


Just yesterday, my friend Jiun Wei, and I paid a visit to Asia Community Service First Step Intervention Centre. We had just finished out exams and we wanted to go there to say 'Thank You' to the staff and parents there who shared with us their experiences and indeed their lives with us about raising children with Down Syndrome, which was of great help in our project...

It would not be an exaggeration to say that had it not been for them, our project would have been a complete failure...


We also wanted to return some books and resource materials to Khai Yue's parents, Uncle Woon Hun and Aunty Chi Ying




It was great going back there...The parents and children, having seen us before, were not kekok this time around, and we had much more fun than when we had to take notes or carry a camera!



We played around with little Shahril, little Ru-Yeu, little Shamalan, little Shi Yong, and of course, little Khai Yue...


I hope to one day tell you all the story of little Shamalan, with his pictures, but I gotta wait for the greenlight from his dear mummy first!



Anyway, in conversation with Aunty Chi Ying, she told me of how there were quite some people who refused to wear her maternity clothes (even though they were lovely, quite new ones) upon hearing that she had given birth to a child with Down Syndrome, and how they refused to wear Khai Yue's clothes too...

I have seen these clothes, and they are indeed lovely, beautiful little things...



These people believed the clothes were 'sui', and would bring bad luck to the mother and/or child...One lady even said out loud enough about the child being 'not right'!


When she told me that, I could feel my heart pound very fast, mostly out of indignation...


It was at this point that I realised that we were seriously behind in terms of awareness...I don't know about other races, but this 'sui' business among the Chinese can sometimes go too far...



I am not disgusted at the behaviour, but I felt quite a stab in the chest upon hearing such a statement...I would readily admit that my gut instinct was disgust, but I do realise it is because there is still seriously lack of awareness among the members of the public about many things...


Like how Down Syndrome comes about (not contagious, not hereditary), like how AIDS is transmitted (likewise, not contagious!) and a whole host of other problems...



I have only one thing to say: If someone in future gives my child the clothes of a child who has Downs (or any other condition), I would proudly let my child wear the clothes...Likewise, I would proudly wear the clothes of a mother who carried a Downs child...

These mothers and their children are special people, and I would wear take their lovely clothes with honour...After all, how many people in this world can rightfully call themselves 'Special Children' or 'Special Mothers'?



I would like to believe these clothes come not with bad luck, but with plenty of good ones...Clothes that come with a lot of love, hope, faith and resilience...



Now, isn't that really special?