Thursday, 30 August 2007

#1: 50 Posts to Independence...



Poster courtesy of Mob1900



INDEPENDENCE

Such a big word and one I had trouble spelling for a while when I was younger (Was it ‘dan' or ‘den’)…




Independence means a lot to me. It means freedom (within limits of the law, and without harming others, of course). Freedom to do the things that I like and want, the way I want to; to go where I want; to dress as I wish; to collect what I want; to read what I want and make my own inferences, intelligently, I might add; to study what I want; to blog and share without being called a monkey; to not be censored or forced to read, listen and accept censored stuff; in short, freedom to be me.



I was tagged by Zorro on the 29th of July to do the final post in the '50 Posts to Independence’ tag, which was started by Nizam Bashir...




Despite having over a month to think about it, I drew a blank most of the time.

Should I be scientific? Should I preach about how people should conduct themselves? Should I be cliché and preach about how peace is better than war? Should I go on and on about what a multi-cultural society we are? Should I embrace hackney and trite and say the young don’t appreciate independence because we never saw war?



I could (and risk people throwing raw eggs at me!)…



But then again, all the newspapers have already done that…So have the people who are now vying to be elected…So have the older people, veterans of war and teachers, and they have all done a fantastic job as they actually know what they're talking about…



After much thinking, I have decided I will write about something very simple. Something which I have always felt, but never really expressed, except to some people.

I will write about someone I admire very much. He was Prime Minister longer than I’ve been alive, and almost half the number of years we have been independent…

I am going to write about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad…




That's the Man!



You know, for many years, Tun was the only Prime Minister my generation ever knew. To us (or at least, to me) the term PM was synonymous with only one person: Dr M.



Can you blame me? He was PM before I was even born. His resignation in 2003 when I was 17 came as quite a shock. The first question I asked was: "Now how?"

It was hard imagining someone else as PM.



My friends and I are not the political kind. We stay away from politics as much as possible; we rarely discuss it; we can’t name that many names off hand and the posts they go with. We often laughed at how inept our politicians are, and cringed and shook our heads too.



But Tun was different...

He has done so much for Malaysia. I remember how we all studied for our exams. Learn only the contributions of the first 3 PM’s…Everything else (no matter how weird, sophisticated, out-of reach, whatever), just put Tun Dr M, and chances are, you got it right!




I remember when my teacher asked in school many years ago who our hero was. Nearly the whole class said without hesitation: Mahathir!

Ok, so we weren’t exactly very into titles and honorifics.

But that was what made it even cooler. To us, Dr M wasn’t Mr-PM, he wasn’t Yang-Mulia, or Yang-Berhormat, or ‘HRH’ or whatever. He was just plain Dr M…Mahathir…

But we always said it with respect. And not the same can be said about many of the other people in the ‘gomen’…



Dr M was like our common-favourite grandpa…

We never really felt the same for Pak Lah. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because we don’t like him or don’t respect him or any other (bad) thing you might be tempted to think…

The one reason is simple: It’s hard to like a new ‘grandpa’. Because liking a new grandpa is like betraying the memory of the grandpa you’ve known all your life.



I’ve always wanted to meet Tun Dr M. To shake his hand and say ‘Thank You Sir’ for all that he has done for this country. I know I will probably (Did I say probably? Definitely is more like it) splutter like an idiot, get all tongue-tied and star-struck and blabber incoherently (and forget to say 'Thank You Sir'!), but it would be worth it to look like a concussed troll if I get to meet the man…



I always hoped I would get to meet him before I leave to further my studies overseas, which is next year...

I would really like to meet Tun Dr Siti Hasmah too...After all, like they say: Woman, without her, man is nothing!



But now that he is no longer PM, and I don’t live in KL or Selangor or anywhere near there that I might *ahem* bump into him, I know my chances are about, let’s see...zilch.


But oh well, a girl can dream, can’t she?



I hope God blesses him and his family with health, love, wealth and peace of mind. I know many people are going to rant about how he’s a cruel man etc etc etc, but today, I pay tribute to the part of Tun that is good. All the rantings about conspiracy, evil-ness and whatever, I'll leave it to the anti-Mahathirs out there.



After all, 50 years of independence would mean nothing had it not been for Tun Dr Mahathir and his vision, hard-work and legendary wit, and if anyone should be savouring Vision 2020, it's him!

Like I say everywhere: Tun Dr M, only 13 more years to 2020! You can do it sir!



And if any one of you bumps into him, do send him the greetings of this concussed, tongue-tied, star-struck Ipoh girl =)…




And to all Malaysians, Happy Golden Jubilee, Happy 50th Birthday! May we all continue to progress and grow together, with love, respect and hard-work as our guide. And I pray we continue to live in peace, together...




Note: Here are the others that preceded me: 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, 44, 43, 42, 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2...



Friday, 24 August 2007

Hey! Merdeka's Coming!...






Hey Everyone!

Merdeka is coming soon! Can you believe it? We're almost 50 years old...



Stuff we found in the newspapers and mounted on elephant-card and black sugar-paper...


Usually, as we age, physically, we tend to look worse than when we were younger right? As in, you know, sagging parts, wrinkles, hair that cannot decide to be black, or white, or both...

(Not that I have anything against ageing, as I will go through it too. To me, what's inside is still more important)

But for Malaysia, growing older means looking better...At least, physically...




A montage of our past and present Prime Ministers...


Over the weekend, my family and I were busy getting into the Merdeka mood, cutting newspaper pictures, articles and doing up charts...

My mother is a Primary School teacher, and the best way to teach the children about the importance of Merdeka is well, to lead by example, right? So there we were, with a few volunteers from her class, decorating the class to help get them into the Merdeka spirit...




First, put up the new curtains...And I might add, stare at the world go by...=)







Next, put up the little tiny flags along the curtain-rail on the other side, where there's no sun...







Then put up little lanterns made from 100-Plus tins (Hey, publicity for them!)...These little funny things actually do spin in the wind...The result? Me running around blowing at them just to see them spin! Haha...







Next, line up the wall with black sugar-paper (Anyone know why it's called Sugar-paper?), and put up the Merdeka-Hands...But first, teach the little ones how to use celophane-tape!







And voila! After alot of knee-aches for me squatting down, and the children all excited seeing their finger-prints in the celotape, here are the hands all up!







And finally, put up the Malaysian Flag and let the pupils admire the work!





Hey...Like I said, Merdeka is coming! It's our birthday guys, so we should be celebrating, no?


As for me, I still have my '50 Posts to Independence' Tag to put up on Merdeka Day...I still don't know what I'm going to write about, but here's hoping something will come to me...


Soon, I hope...

In fact, very soon would be nice...



Sunday, 19 August 2007

A Special Child; A Special Family...




Lim Khai Yue...



Today, I would like to share with all of you the story of Lim Khai Yue, who celebrates her 3rd birthday today...

Khai means Spiritual Nature, and Yue means Spiritual Happiness...


Khai Yue was born with Down Syndrome, and unlike the stories of other special children I've shared here, I did not meet Khai Yue in the hospital...

Khai Yue's parents, Uncle Lim Woon Hun and Aunty Ng Chi Ying, are Baha'i's, and so we're 'family friends'...




Uncle Lim Woon Hun, with Khai Yue smiling away, and her brother Khai Xi...Dear Aunty Chi Ying is taking the picture...



They always say that special children are born to special parents, and indeed Khai Yue's story is one such example...Aunty Chi Ying and Uncle Woon Hun are everything a special child can ask for, and such is their love, devotion and acceptance of Khai Yue, that they have dedicated their life to caring for her...




Look at the darling duo, which when together, mean 'Twin Happiness'...



Not only that, they have even passed on the devotion to their 10 year-old son, Khai Xi, who adores his sister to bits, and whom I can see will be there to protect her for many years to come...


Uncle Woon Hun told me a while back, when I expressed my admiration for their care of Khai Yue:-

"We're nothing special. But when God gives you a child like Khai Yue, it is gift. For children like Khai Yue, we as parents must be 10 steps ahead of her. And even though she is different, she has a right to know God too".


And 10 steps ahead they are; attending courses, seminars, and learning all they can to do their best in bringing the best out of Khai Yue...They also teach Khai Yue how to pray...




And under their love, Khai Yue has blossomed into such a wonderful girl, who bobs along to songs, nursery rhymes, and has been amazing in her progress in verbal/visual-linguistics...




Guess who's at the computer playing games?



From the (very young) special children I've met, I found that they could sometimes be very shy; Khai Yue is however, true to her name...Spiritual Happiness she really is, smiling when you call her name, and she allowed me to carry her the first time I met her, and even gave me a kiss on my cheek before she left...*Awww...So sweet*


Aunty Chi Ying and Uncle Woon Hun have certainly done an amazing job helping Khai Yue to socialise!



Dear Khai Xi and Darling Khai Yue, in their traditional Chinese attire...



And every night, Khai Xi prays for his sister:-


“Help this daughter of the Kingdom,
To be exalted in both worlds,
Give her heavenly power and strengthen her through,
The breath of the Holy Spirit that she may arise to serve Thee”





Khai Xi, Uncle Woon Hun and Aunty Chi Ying, you are not alone in your prayers...We too, pray for Khai Yue, and your blessed family, in our different ways...




And Khai Yue, Happy 3rd Birthday!






Tuesday, 14 August 2007

A Wish For a Safe Journey, Everytime...



Picture from The Star...


Sigh...


Everytime I see a tragedy like this, a chill runs up my spine...

Nothing beats opening the papers early in the morning, and seeing such gruesome news, with so many lives lost...

Nothing beats opening the newspapers, and reading of so much murder and rape and robbery...Why can't people not harm, maim and kill?



I know death is a normal part of life, but such a tragic and sudden death is so very hard, both on the person who passes on, and those who survive them...I mean, what if there was something you really were suppose to do, but didn't get to, huh? Like what if that journey you were taking was meant to get something done?



Whenever I read of accidents and events like this, I always pray the whole family dies, especially the driver...

Because it's terrible if one person if left to survive...How do you pick yourself up again when your whole family is wiped out? And if you're the driver (even if it wasn't your fault), the feeling that you were the reason for their deaths is all the more worse to bear...How do you live with yourself?



And when I read of horrific bus accidents, I feel even worse...


Because I take the bus to and from Ipoh and Penang...


Sometimes every week...Sometimes twice a month...


My parents always ask if I want them to pick and send me, but I can't bear the thought of them travelling on their own without me all the time...

Because if something happens, I won't be able to forgive myself knowing they were sending or coming to pick me...



I just got off the phone with my mum, and she too is worried that I'm taking the bus like that...But I shall trust my life in God's hands...

Meanwhile, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the families of those who perished, and I hope they find the courage and strength through this horrible ordeal...



Wish me and my family a safe journey everytime, people...And I wish you and your families all the same, everytime...



*Hugs*


Sunday, 12 August 2007

Update: Aphasia-Dysphasia, Why-Fore Art Thou?








I got an email just recently, from a sweet guy called Christopher, and Christopher had two questions for me: What is Aphasia-Dysphasia, and why did I name my blog such?



I remember during the Bloggers' Gathering on May 19,
another blogger too, during casual conversation at the buffet line (I didn’t get his name…) asked the same question…

Okie, I have a feeling perhaps a few other people might have the same question, so today I will shed some light as to the what and why's…



For those who couldn't care less =), you might want to skip this post!




Now, Aphasia and Dysphasia are two separate (but closely related) terms, and yes! They actually do exist…Both Christopher and Mister-Buffet-Line thought I coined it up on my own (Aww Shucks Guys! I'm not that smart! Haha!)…

And, they are both Medical Terms, to do with the brain (Something wrong with it lar)…

Aphasia means ‘Failure to produce and/or understand certain words (language)’, while Dysphasia means 'Difficulty producing and/or understanding certain words (language)’...




Update: Kerp just said he's not sure if he got the pronunciation right...Ah...Thanks Kerp, I forgot...

Aphasia: Er-fay-zher or Er-fay-zhia (The 'r' in Er is silent); Dysphasia: Dis-fay-zher or Dis-fay-zhia...

Ok, everyone, altogether now..."A.pha.sia - Dys.pha.sia"...=)



Both Aphasia and Dysphasia have two general forms: Receptive and Expressive


I think you guys get it…


Basically, to use Aphasia as an example: Receptive Aphasia means failure to understand, and Expressive Aphasia means failure to express!


You get it, don't you?





When a person suffers from Expressive Aphasia, what they say and what they mean can be completely different. Generally, the intended word/phrase, and the word which eventually comes out are closely related, meaning


1) Similar in sound (Meant to say ‘Fair’ but said ‘Care’), or

2) Similar in context and/or setting (Meant to say ‘Spoon’ but said ‘Fork’)

Or, sentences just come out all weird and jumbled and wrong…




Like: I wanted to go to the Market to buy fish

Became: Market went to the I the fish wanted to go



People with Aphasia usually don’t realize what they said doesn’t make sense…




I read a lot of ‘rubbish’, and have been known to comb through various encyclopedias simply because I was bored and curious.



I came across these terms about 6 years back while reading “A Short Journal of Medicine, 5th Edition”, by J.C. Houston, C.L Joiner and J.R Trounce under the Neurology Section (Yes, I read Medical Journals for fun). A thick journal which I found someone in some garage-like sale…










So why is my blog called Aphasia-Dysphasia?


Simple…


1) Because I talk so quickly. Because of this, I am very popular for twisting everything I say and mixing words back and forth (Like 'Chicken Chop' becomes 'Chop Chicken'...Hehe...)

2) I say stupid things, which I don’t realize.




I once stood up and said, in a debate: "Ladies and gentleman, Humanity is a Monkey Deprived of Bananas. We do not have enough bananas to go around, so kindly keep your bananas to yourself"…


And for the life of me, could not understand why the people were howling with laughter, and indeed, one of the judges nearly disappeared off his chair, he was laughing to much (Very, very good looking guy, from Africa!)…


What I meant was that nations (monkey) sometimes lacked in resources (bananas). So, instead of helping other countries when you don't have enough yourself (not enough bananas to go around), take care of your own people first (keep bananas to yourself!)...


Of course, the entire crowd thought I was being dirty…I only found out why they were laughing after the debate ended…

Sigh…



And 3) As a psychology student, the brain is basically my playground (Hey, whose brain is perfect?)!



And the fourth, most important thing is:



In the course of the little, little bit of voluntary work I was privilege to do, I’ve been struck speechless many, many times, because of the people I’ve met (like little
Aisya), the people who’ve given me lumps in my throat (Like Hisham), the people who’ve made me fume (Like when I work with abused children like Xin), the people who teach me that life is the most precious thing (Like when I hold a newborn) and the people who make my day here and there (Like Mr Pony-Tail!)…



And most importantly, is the little boy I met called
Chee Keong: whom I’ve learned to love unconditionally, would give up so much for without a word ever being exchanged and whom I spent countless nights crying for…


Picture from The Star: Baby Amin and Me...



So, yes, why Aphasia-Dysphasia?



Because life, inherently, is not always about talking, or saying the right thing…


Life is about learning to listen. It is about watching the people around you, and learning from them. It is about learning to be grateful for what you have, and enjoying the company of those you care about.




And really, sometimes, the most important things can’t be said. It needs to be shown. How can you say “I Love You”, and walk away when the person needs you?

How can you say “I care”, if you don’t listen?

How can you say “I know how you feel” (Which is not the same as “I feel for you”), when you’ve never been in that position?


And how can you say learn to do the ‘right’ thing if you’ve never listened or watched?




So again, why Aphasia-Dysphasia?

Because I don’t always know the right words or the right thing to say, but I try…


And sometimes, I don’t say it...I show you *Hugs*...



Note: For more on Aphasia and Dysphasia, click
here and here...


Friday, 10 August 2007

The Story of Little Hisham and the Red Balloon...









Today, I would like to share the story of one little boy I met and worked with while in the hospital...


This boy's name is Hisham*, and Hisham is an Orang Asli (OA) boy who had met with an MVA...In the hospital, everything is either in the form of an acronym, or an abbreviation...I sure had a hard time when I first started, because it seems everyone spoke in short-hand, and for someone who knew none, they sounded like Greek...


MVA, as I found out, stands for Motor-Vehicle Accident...



I met Hisham in the Pediatric Rehab unit, and the first time I saw him, I was astonished, and in many ways, frightened...

You see, Hisham had half his skull missing...



The first time I saw Hisham, he was in a wheelchair, his head drooped to one side, and his right-side of the head, was oddly sunken...Sunken, and pulsating...


Not wanting to stare, but all too curious, I ventured a tiny whisper to Pn Yasmin, who is the Pediatric Physiotherapist about the who, what, why's...



Pn Yasmin: "This is Hisham. OA, MVA...9 years old...Half his skull has been removed; doctors removed the skull to ease the pressure on the brain as it heals..."



I later learned that the removed skull is usually put back after a year (different cases have different durations), and it seems, some are never put back (This I'm not sure)!


And the question I was deadly curioused about was: Where do they keep the skulls?!?!?

Pn Yasmin, smiling: "Skull Bank lar...Where else?"



Oh...Like lar I knew...I'm still reeling from discovering people can survive without the whole skull!

To those equally curious, the head (with no skull) is soft to the touch, sunken, and yes, it it is like putting your hand against a beating heart...A soft one...*Shudder*



Anyway, I later learned that Hisham was riding pillion on a motorbike ridden by his uncle, and they met with an accident...The boy was flung of the bike (he wasn't wearing a helmet), and his head was the most badly hit...


Hisham was obviously in alot of pain; Tears were rolling down his cheeks, and at every attempt to get him to move (when I met Hisham, it was a month plus since the actual accident), would result in him screaming...



I was told that although his head was badly injured, his limbs were not too bad, and none were broken...The screaming was mostly due to Hisham being traumatised, and he was afraid of getting out of the wheelchair...


Can you blame him? The poor kid was only 9...



And then I met Hisham's mother...

And I was even more shocked...

I called her Kak...


Kak was heavily pregnant, and I found out that this was her 8th child...

So why was I shocked? Because Kak, is 19 years old, and Hisham is 9...

Which means, she carried her first baby at the age of 10 years old, when she was a child herself...



I continued calling her Kak, eventhough she was younger than me...I thought having 8 children qualified her as a Kak...Till today, I never got her name...




For about 5 months after that, I regularly visited Hisham in his ward (Pediatric Surgical)...I found out he loved to eat (all the children I work with love to eat!), so every time I went to see him, I used to bring him a little something...Sometimes, little buns, sometimes cakes (he loved Chiffon!), sometimes biscuits individually packed, even dodol!




Works Everytime!




That was the time when I was still with Chee Keong, who loved Cadbury chocolate (he won't eat any other, the smart boy)...So Hisham usually got a bit too...



Getting Hisham to go for rehab was a tedious affair...Although Pn Yasmin was very patient and kind, it seemed that the very sight of the room made Hisham cringe...And so it happens that we used to go to him...I either tagged along with Pn Yasmin, or visited him on my own (Note: Mostly to help bathe, keep him company or encourage him to move...Nothing complex since I am no professional)...



I used to have to 'bribe' Hisham in efforts to get him to move...You know, if you promise to flex your fingers (both hands!) for 5 times, you get a wafer...


It was the only way I knew which would get him to cooperate with me...The 'bribing' worked, sometimes...



Although Hisham was skinny, he was heavy...

It was quite a challenge to bathe him...Often, it would be me, and another student nurse, or a student nurse and his uncle...Because his mother was so heavily pregnant, it would have been unfair and dangerous to make her carry him...(Hey, I think I developed some tiny little *Ahem*, muscles with all the carrying! Hehe...)






Hisham never spoke througout the time he was in the hospital, we suspect, because of the trauma...According to Kak, he was a real chatter before...

The nurses were always trying to get him to talk; simple things like "Panggil Jie-Jie (me)!"

He never called me, but at least, now, Hisham smiles...








One day, my best friend, Yean Mei and I threw a balloon fest in the hospital...(Full story, another post!)


Hisham, too got one, a red one, with his name on it...



The balloon stayed at his bedside till one day, I found that it had shrunk to the size of my fist...When I walked in, Hisham pointed to the balloon...I asked if he wanted another, and he nodded...

Ah, so balloons it was the next day...




Unfortunately, the time came when I had to leave to further my studies...


The week after, I went to say goodbye to Hisham and uncle (Kak was on maternity leave, with a baby girl)...


After some chatting between me and uncle, I turned to say goodbye to Hisham...



As I turned to leave, I heard a tiny whisper: "Bye Jie"...

It was barely audible, but I heard it, and that two-words (The first time I had heard Hisham's voice) gave me a lump in my throat...


Ah, so it was the red balloon that did it...



Note: *Name has been changed...



PS: I went back to the hospital two months later, and found that Hisham had been discharged...I don't know what has since happened to dear Hisham, or if he ever got his skull back, but I think I'll ask the next time I go back...



Sunday, 5 August 2007

Sex 101: Why?...





I am doing a course in Cultural Anthropology this semester, and among the topics we study is about 'Sex and Gender', to which many questions were asked, and many issues arose...

The first question that struck me is, well, why do humans have sex (No, this is not a 'blue' post)? Is it driven more by needing to satisfy innate pleasures, or are we driven by the desire to procreate, pass on our genes, and continue the human-race's civilisation?


After many online chats with quite a few friends (Bloggers and non-Bloggers alike), many agree that it is a combination of both, which drive people to have intercourse...



But really, which precipitates which?

The Bible calls on humans to "be fruitful, multiply and fill the Earth" (Gn.1:28);

The Holy Quran says that "He is the Creator of the heavens and the each. He has given you partners from among yourselves and, similarly, made the cattle also males and females. That is how he multiplies you" (43:11);

In The Baha'i Kitab-i-Aqdas, it is said: "Enter into wedlock, O People, that he may bring forth one who will make mention of Me amid My servants" (K 63).



Religiously speaking, I believe all religions believe in the same thing: Sex is viewed as 'sinful' without the holy matrimony of marriage...

This kinda makes it sound as if (I don't know, just a thought) that sex is meant for procreation first, and pleasure second...And of course, unmarried people should just stay clear of both lar...



And another question that I have been asking when reading this chapter is, if someone asks to sleep with you (Ah, please don't read as this refering to anyone in particular; the question is purely theoretical), is that a compliment, or an insult? It can be interpreted both ways, no? It can be a compliment in the sense, that person finds you attractive, and yet, an insult because it might mean you look an 'easy' person to take to bed...




But if the argument is that sex is first to procreate, and then only comes pleasure, it is a compliment, because it means that a person has found you to be the perfect person to pass on his/her genes...



So yeah, as I read this chapter, more questions arise, than they get answered...