Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last day of 2009

I just didn't know how to account to myself on this blog, and that's why I haven't been blogging.

He transferred a bulk of his payout to me as a step to show that he'll let me hold the pursestring. In view of that, I have called off the lawyer's appointment, possibly tentatively. At the back of my mind, there's a voice that says,"You're going to divorce sooner or later, and you keep putting things off for a bastard. What's the matter with you?"

I just want to hold onto the last strand of hope that he's changing for the better, and this is a huge step that he's taken to show that he's sincere to want to make the marriage work. That's women for you. Hopelessly hopeful.

Sometimes he hides in the toilet for hours. I know he's smsing. Probably betting on soccer and exchanging information with his so-called friends.

His boss has remarked that he has a 'wrong belief system'. It shows up at his workplace, family and marriage. In short, his whole value and belief system is all wrong because of his self-centredness.

When a person is self-centred, he becomes the whole world, and he must be the priority on whatever list there is.

He doesn't know that his self-centredness and selfishness are the ones that cause his downfall.

It's no longer my business.

Perhaps I should learn to view infidelity in a new light. Whatever that's deem wrong by him, he's at it, in his warped little (reads: narrow) ways.

It's a new year tomorrow.

I want to change my ways.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Divorce (Part 1)

I've made an appointment with the lawyer.

He doesn't even want to talk. He said I just wanted things to go my way.

What's wrong with my way? His ways are totally warped and wrong.

For 4 years, I've lived as if I've never married, except that I have more expenses to pay for. I'm quintiessentially the single mother that I always had and have been. I still take Coco out on trips alone. I still foot bills on my own. I still pay for Coco's stuff. No one supports us. And worse, I have to make trips down to my parents' place so that she could eat home-cooked food. Otherwise, it's packed food all the time which I deem as unhealthy.

This marriage has held nothing for me, except torment and stress. I don't even have the most basic of what a marriage SHOULD offer ie. companionship. Throughout this marriage, I'm a loner. Thorough, total loner. Yes, it includes being sexless.

I've decided that enough is enough. This marriage is plain nonsense. What's holding me back from divorcing him for so long? The flat. I don't know how I'm going to find accommodation after I divorce. But it doesn't matter to me anymore. I just want out.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Education is a Marathon

Coco was with me when we went to Malaysia for the past few days.

My 4th sister was visibly, and audibly, worried when she saw how slow Coco was in going about her business ie. eating, doing her work and responding to others when she's called.

She said I really ought to do something about it, like finding her someone to compete with (since I have noted that she works best when under a certain amount of stress or competition). And that I ought to change her character or personality before I go into her academics.

As someone who's alienated from the concept of bringing up a child, I can see where she's coming from, and I would agree with her if I don't have a child myself. Yet as a parent with a child whose academics are at stake, I have to disagree with her.

Personality and character are inherent in us. We have a Chinese saying '江山易改,本性难移', meaning 'A leopard cannot change its spots'. If I were to change her character before I do something about her academics, Coco could very well end up in a stream or school that's less desired. Having been a secondary student in a neighbourhood school, I had suffered from the negative impact of being in a class that wasn't exactly enthusiastic about academic achievements. It also affected the way I looked at education for a long time, so much so that it has a lasting effect on my whole life!

The main and painful lesson that I take away from this is: a secondary school is extremely, if not most, important in shaping a child's future.

This is why I saw it vital, and literally did everything that I could to make sure, that Coco got into a good primary school so that she could up her chance in going to a good secondary school, and preferably a girls' school.

Introspectively, I thought my intention for Coco to get into a good secondary school from the start could stem from my belief that education is a marathon.

In a marathon, your performance has to be consistent. You can't start with a sprint and slow down later. You can't tell yourself you'll have it nice and slow first, or better yet, sit down and rest first, and then do very well at the last stage, because chances are, you won't even reach that last stage. But a good start, without a sprint, will be nice. It boosts your confidence and allows you to see how far you are from the ones in front and behind.

This is also one of the reasons I intend to spend a few years to build up Coco's foundation in Chinese. I'm not prepping her for her yearly Chinese exams, although those exams are good indicators of how well she's coping at each level. I am aiming more at her PSLE. I hope that by the time she reaches PSLE, she will be quite, if not very, competent in using the language.

I'm a Chinese lover (passionate about Chinese as a language and subject). Even now, I'm still constantly amazed by the use of Chinese especially in the area of writing. I truly want Coco to embrace the language as well.

'Manual' mode

I just want to announce to God-knows-who:

I have, and am learning, how to use the 'Manual' mode!

All along, 'Manual' mode is a mystery to me. Why should I be using M mode when Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, P, Auto, and all the pre-set modes ie. Portrait, Landscape, Nightscene are just as good, if not better, in helping me to capture the images?

And I always suck at using the M mode. It's always too dark, too bright, too blurry. Never a great picture. However, I continue to endeavour in using the Aperture-priority mode so that I don't degenerate into using the P or Portrait modes all the time. I'm a firm believer of difficult or impossible to unlearn what you have learnt, especially the wrong methods, so I try very hard to improve instead of deprove most of the time, except when it comes to Maths, and maybe Science.

I was in Malaysia the few days before and I was shooting my hometown all over.

Some shots came out too dark or too bright when I used Aperture-priority mode. At one point, I decided to change to M mode so that I could adjust the shutter speed to 'control' (can you imagine me using the word 'control' camera-wise?) the amount of light coming in. And it worked well. From there, I try to remember that if my shutter speed is too high or too fast when shooting a still object or posed picture eg. 1/100, I'll get dark picture. If I want a less exposed picture (the sun is too bright), I need to up the shutter speed so that less light can come in.

It's a small kind of 'awakening' for me where camera and photography is concerned. I've always read that shutter speed has to do with the letting of light in, but somehow, I couldn't digest it. Now I am starting to understand.

Wow, as I reflected on all these, I feel that I've come a long way in learning about how the camera works. I still have loads to learn and these are just peanuts, but I'm just very glad that my camera did not become a white elephant like I had first worried that it might.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Photoshop CS4 - Vignette

I hadn't got around playing with Photoshop CS4 although I've had it with me for weeks!

I got it installed just a couple of days ago and decided to see if it was easy to 'play around with'. To my dismay, and technological shock, I found it incredibly difficult to get anything done. The information on 'Help' was too much and too hard for me to digest and I didn't know what I really want to achieve except that I wanted to be decent in the ability to use Photoshop.

Today, I was on Clubsnap forum and saw a picture that has the blackening effect on the edges of the photo. I had wanted that effect on my pics long ago but didn't know how to do it. The thread starter who shared his pics told me that it was an 'inherent characteristic' of Holga cameras. I wikipediaed it and found the word 'vignette'.

I googled 'Vignetting an image using Photoshop CS4' and it led me to a youtube video. I tried following it but I kept getting a 'hand tool' icon instead of having the different tools working for me. In my frustration, I googled for the reason for the appearance of the icon. Surprisingly, many people get it at one point or another. Some swore by the method of 'Edit>Preferences>General>Reset all warning dialogs'. Although it worked the first time, it didn't work for the subsequent times. Another person shared that he hit spacebar and it was resolved. I thought it was too good to be true, but I tried it anyway, and it worked for me!

Then I tried to upload a picture in Photoshop file that I've vignetted but wasn't successful. I googled again for 'Converting Photoshop file into JPG' and I found the solution:

1) Save the picture as Photoshop file
2) Reopen the file
3) Save the picture as Jpeg or JPG

The original copy of Photoshop file seemed like a must to keep for the moment. So I'll just keep it first.

Baby at 13th month

I learnt 4 things today:

1) Holga cameras
2) Vignetting an image (albeit a rudimentary attempt)
3) Resolving the 'hand tool' icon issue
4) Converting a Photoshop (PSD) file into Jpeg or JPG file

Wow! A great achievement for a technophobic!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Visiting List

While the kids are still sleeping in, I decided to blog more before I'm held hostage.

I haven't done much with the kids this hol. Primarily because they are down with flu, cold, fever (Baby) and wheezing and cough (Coco).

Reading other mummies' blogs make me realise there are quite a few places that I'd wanted to visit with the kids. I better list them down first:

1) The Wave Bridge
2) The Marina Barrage
3) Sentosa
4) Orchard Road for Xmas Lighting

Tentative others:
5) Tree top walk (as I just discovered)

Actually, when I re-looked at the visiting list above, I thought the order should be reversed ie. Orchard Road goes first and the Wave Bridge last. It's exactly how I want it to be!

I'll have to be patient and wait for their sicknesses to clear up.

A Strange Wedding

A few days ago, about a day after the Staff Dinner, I dreamt of James, a colleague, and Michelle Chia getting married.

Perhaps it was because James was the overall-in-charge of the Dinner and he was up there making the opening speech before the Dinner commenced. We took a picture together as well. About two days before that, we chatted abit at our colleagues' Malay wedding. An ex-colleague who left one week after I joined the school asked if I was his wife or girlfriend as I was smiling at her and sitting beside him. After that, he said,"You're my wife for tonight." After all, I studied Literature and we were supposed to read alot in between the lines, and tried to squeeze all possible implications and insinuations and sarcasms from the lines. So I thought that line has some sort of sexual implication there as well. Haha ... of course he probably didn't mean so, but given the person who reads and thinks too much into things, I couldn't help but went that way in my thought.

I sidetracked again.

Okay. I dreamt of him and Michelle Chia. They were getting married in a cosy chapel-like place, with alot of dark-wood elements around it. The pews, the long stretch of altar (like the one at Trinity College) etc. Michelle Chia wasn't even in her wedding gown. She had her hair tied in two plaits and she was in this pink frilly blouse, with a pair of nice shorts. And she was preparing some sort of drinks for the reception as she was making her wedding speech! She was saying something to the effect of "It doesn't matter what form the wedding takes, as long as we love each other and mean to marry each other." And James agreed.

The guests, including me, felt so touched we wept. The whole atmosphere was such that it was very touching.

About a day after the wedding, I went to this swanky boutique that Michelle Chia opened. James attended to me. However, the moment I tried to touch a unique dress at the collar, he stopped me from putting my hand to it as he didn't want me to taint or spoil the dress in any way! In the dream, I was an aspiring fashion designer (haha ... look how far-fetched a dream can be) and I was trying to find ideas from that dress. So I was shocked when James loved his wife so much that he wouldn't allow me, a lowly commoner, to touch an apparel that's hung for display.

After the snub, I walked out of the boutique. And that was just about my dream ended.

Unfaithfulness, Thy Name is Man

Tiger Woods' extramarital affairs have nothing to do with me, but it does set me off on a trail of thoughts.

Firstly, his perfect image as the protective and loving husband being smashed.

We all know that human beings are not perfect, but in our subsconciousness, many of us still see Woods as being 'perfect' in that he doesn't stray, especially when he has a top model for a wife and no tabloid has ever been successful in finding his fault. His image is always healthy. Always with that pearly-white smile. I'm not sure if his tan or naturally-tanned skin contributes to his healthy image.

It's quite a blow to idealistic people like me, that even Woods, someone who's fiercely protective of his privacy, falls from grace in the fidelity aspect.

Is it really so hard to be faithful?

Secondly, the society seems to accept that men being unfaithful is a norm. They often quote the well-abused phrase 'He is just a human being' to the point of it being rotten.

Aren't women 'just human beings' too? What makes women's infidelity more unacceptable than men's? And what makes men's unfaithfulness more acceptable than women's?

And why do we, more often than not, have men unfaithful rather than women?

I recall vividly how Jacky (or is it 'Jackie') Chan found the quick, perfect excuse for his act of infidelity when his female co-star stood up to expose his unfaithfulness, by claiming that she's pregnant with his baby,"我犯了全天下男人都会犯的错。" loosely translated as "I've commited the fault that the rest of the men on Earth would." It suggests that EVERY man is or will be unfaithful, and it's as if that's acceptable.

It's disgusting.

A New Paper journalist or columnist, Joanne Soh, was blasted on paper how her view of 'Men are Pigs' was twisted and that it implied that she has some issues about her own marriage.

Incidentally, those who paper-lambasted her are all men, while women supported her view. And I, of course, stand by her too, having gone through at least 2 pigs of a man.

The arguments that the men gave were weak: they started to say immature things like 'Then women should all be bitches', and they knew of women who were unfaithful too.

I mean, the world is SOOOOOO big. There will definitely be women who cheat their spouse as well, but what's the probability of women cheating as opposed to men?

It's so ironical that on one hand, men agree whole-heartedly that infidelity is something that all men would commit when high-profiled celebrities' unfaithfulness is splashed all over the papers, yet on the other hand, they try so hard to refute that claim when the title is directed at the common men. I think it also tells us that men are vain and frivolous. They want to be associated with acts commited by celebrities, yet they do not want to admit that they are fallible when the topic directs more at the vile act than the celebrity in question.

Vanity, frivolousness and unfaithfulness, thy name is man.

Signing and Climbing

Baby is signing 'Goodbye' and 'miang kiss' very well, albeit quite unorthodox.

When signing 'goodbye', she rotates her palm instead of waving it. When 'mian kissing', she puts her hand to her mouth and let it stay there till someone plucks her hand away from her mouth. Very cute!

She's able to express her dislikes by shaking her head. If she really doesn't want certain thing eg. milk feed, she shakes her head vehemently, continuously to get the message across. Very cute!

She's also climbing her way to wherever she desires. She once cleared the toy drawer of my nephews' and sat in it! The other day, she tried to take things out from one of the CD drawers at the TV console so as to climb into it I presumed. Just a couple of days ago, she climbed onto the stroller all by herself, without any help! A very strong baby. And she's down with flu and all.

Recently, her appearance seems to be changing. Her eyes look bigger now. Her face rounder. Very cute!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Genting trip in process

We've bought the coach tics to Genting.

It set me back by RM550 for 5 peeps. My father was glad he had an extra RM100 on him as I'd only given him S$200, thinking that it would be more than enough.

I'm a little apprehensive about the long coach trip. I hope I'll be okay, plus Coco too! She's wheezing abit and is on her Seretide all over again. I took her off the inhaler when she started to take the deer foetus powder from Taiwan, but she doesn't seem to be doing very well. I hope that by being on Seretide again, she'll be fine again.