Tag Archives: blog exercises

Taking part in Lorelle VanFossen’s Blog Exercises shows that I’m pretty insane. Her exercises are challenging and I’ve worked pretty hard. In each exercise, Lorelle tries to shaken me up, smash me, torture me, then give me a wink, and lend me a helping hand.

One of Lorelle’s exercises is to clearly define What do you do? It sounds like an easy question, but my brain hurts. Her questions are always so deep, so sharp, and she makes you explore deep inside your soul and make you weep.

I hope I’ve lived up to Lorelle’s challenges and improve in my thoughts and in my writing each day.

Welcome to my world.

Letters from China: Part 2

My mother returned to her ancestral home in China for the first time after 40 years on a big ship from Singapore in 1979. “I was very dizzy for the whole 7-day journey.” How big was the ship? I wondered. “Oh,” my mother recalled, “it was so big that some pigs were on board too.”

My mother could see from her room on the upper deck some pigs eating their left-over food. Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 1

This week, I’ll share with you some letters from China.

My mother left Fujian, the poverty-stricken province in the south of China in the late 30s, and arrived in Singapore a few weeks later, after surviving the turbulent journey of the South China Sea. Continue reading

At 30 – a milestone to set my site goals

This morning, I woke to find that my mother-in-law had just subscribed to my blog.

My initial response was: “Oh no! Have I written something that my mother-in-law shouldn’t read? ”

No, but a brief moment of panic was my natural reaction. Actually my very first post was inspired by my mother-in-law. I shouldn’t have panicked. I sent her an email to thank her for her subscription.

I should not have worried about my close relatives reading my blog. I never use my blog to write anything that I would regret in real life. Most of my friends don’t know that I write, and those who know are not regular readers. Who do I write for? My blog is a welcoming, open cafe, which attracts a like-minded audience, who indulges in the comforting aroma of freshly brewed fine tea from China and the grinding sound of dark-roast coffee beans from Italy. They stay because this cafe with a difference suits their temperament. Continue reading

Precious Chinese surnames with traditional values

Our surnames are worth gold.

When kids disagree with each other, you might hear an exchange like this: “I swear if I lie to you, I’ll abandon my surname!” Or, “I swear, if I lose, I’ll no longer carry the surname my father has given me!” Or, “Promised? If you lose, you will drop your surname, and follow my surname?”

When a Chinese kid places his surname as a bet, you need to take him seriously.

Outside Salisbury Cathedral -- Boys are superior in Chinese culture

Outside Salisbury Cathedral — Boys are superior in Chinese culture

Does it sound strange to you? As a child, when I argued or swore with the boy next door, we used the most valuable bid — our surnames. I’ve never heard an Englishman bet his surname: “OK, if you win, I’ll abandon my surname Smith and adopt your surname Barker.”

Surname is important. Sons are important because sons carry on the family surname and lineage. Sons carry incense sticks when worshipping the ancestors. They preside over ancestral rites, especially during the Tomb Sweeping Day.

Continue reading

What I have learnt from your comments

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When a flash of orange light appears on my WordPress notifications menu informing me of a new comment, it always excites me.

Imagine my joy when the comment is more than a friendly nodding: “Nice post!” “Thank you!” These brief comments are equivalent to the British weather talk with a stranger: “Lovely, isn’t it?” The encounter is friendly, but it lacks substance.

I wrote Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement two weeks ago and the comments I received were fine examples of how interactive comments inform, educate and entertain me. Continue reading

Hearing my voice from my quotes

When I was in Year 6 in the south of Malaysia aged 12, it was a tradition that school leavers would write their mottos to one another in a little notebook. Everyone would buy at least a notebook for the teachers and friends to write messages in. Shops were full of pretty leavers’ notebooks for boys and girls to buy, and most of the notebooks had cute adorable Japanese cartoons on the cover with beautiful embellishments.

"There are foxy women in the sky."

“There are foxy women in the sky.”

Teachers would write words of encouragement such as “Remember to continue learning, ” or a famous slogan from Chairman Mao, “Work hard and make progress everyday.”

However, we precocious 12-year-olds would write something more profound and abstract. We dished out mottos and quotes that we considered smart. The popular rhyming quotes in Chinese that I received from my 12-year-old friends included:

  • “There are foxy women in the sky; there are jinxs in the earth. Please be aware who your friends are!”
  • “A dragon gives birth to a dragon; a phoenix gives birth to a phoenix; the son of a mouse will dig a hole!”
  • “A mountain will fall; water will flow away; you had better rely on yourself!”

Continue reading

I swim and I blog: where are my nutrients from?

I wrote Share your fear in late June as my first blog post responding to Blog Exercises set by a stranger in the USA called Lorelle. Now I have a staggering collection of 24 blog posts (including this post) from these exercises completed in the past 45 days. You’ll see my full list of the 24 posts at the end of this post.

Lorelle on WordPress logo At the same time, I deleted about 24 old posts from this blog.  This is my Yin and Yang approach: I added a well-written post, which I had poured my heart into writing, and I deleted a limp, floppy old post, which was re-blogged or written in haste.

One of my achievements in the process was my creation of a massive Table of Contents with Lorelle’s guidance. This table helps me see my strength, weakness, goal and hit-and-miss attempts in writing.

Continue reading

Must all boys love Lego?

My son Ben doesn’t like Lego. I used to be quite upset about it.

I wasn’t the most confident new mother when my son was small. Who was? I learnt from parenting books and middle-class stay-at-home mothers that Lego toys were brilliant, and “all boys love Lego,” so I bought him some Lego bricks with joy and played with him.

Roman Banquet Lego Model: in City Museum, Winchester

Roman Banquet Lego Model: in City Museum, Winchester. Roman Banquet was built with 75,000 Lego pieces.

Apparently building Lego toys would boost a child’s maths skill, improve his spatial awareness, and his understanding of fractions and division. Playing with Lego could also foster a child’s physics and engineering skills. Playing with Lego could develop a child’s fine motor skills, high-level problem solving skills, planning and organising skills. Of course I wanted my son to be a scientist, an accountant, an engineer, a heart surgeon, and the youngest Mensa member ever. (Mensa: The High IQ Society) I wanted my son to play Lego.

I bought my son a Lego set, Lego book and some cute Lego model for Christmas, however, he did not open the Lego set for 3 years. He told me he could not see the point of building Lego toys. He had no passion for Lego.

I do compare parenting. I visited a friend whose lounge was turned into a Legoland. They built sophisticated inverted roller-coaster, with motorised chain lifts and working gates. They also built suspension bridges and Technic jet planes. On one visit, we were warned not to knock over their roller-coaster that had taken them 5 days to build. Continue reading

Not a narcissistic outsider

I have an unusual habit. At work, whenever I finish using the computer, I would move the mouse from the left, to the right hand side. Most of the time I would remember this left-to-right move. I’m conscious about moving the mouse to the right because I’m aware that most users in the office are right handed.

Sometimes some colleagues would joke about the mouse being in the wrong place. “Janet was sitting there earlier.” We would joke about life being miserable because I forgot to move the mouse to the right, or the horror when they found two mice were placed next to each other, and they grabbed the wrong mouse for their computer. I have wonderful, supportive colleagues and we often joke about trivial matters like this. Continue reading