Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Friday, August 29, 2008

computer shows and me

Until a few years ago, I would go to the regularly-held computer shows to check out what's new.

One time I was there, looking to buy a computer. As I walked around with my children, I came across a computer booth, having sexily dressed girls, with disco lights and fans blowing their hair into a mess. They were moving awkwardly.. or.. they were dancing to retro music. Gawking men and boys were standing around, blocking the pathway. So, I went away from that booth, shaking my head.   They had just lost a potential customer, because they were attracting gawkers, not real buyers. Stupid.

It actually disgusted me, to think that I'm at a COMPUTER fair and I have to see all these?  If I wanted to see those things, I'd go to the pub or disco.

Ever since seeing that, and a row of bank booths harrassing people into getting loans and credit cards, and even a booth selling CARS, at the COMPUTER show, plus the thought that, I don't want to become another mere consumer- I've stopped going to one.

The computer shows in singapore has become.... I don't know.....a bit blurred

Thursday, August 28, 2008

we, civilised man

The children and I enjoyed the movie, even though I've seen it before.
However, we need to ponder, over what we, 'civilised man' are really doing, on this limited earth.

Excerpt from 'The gods must be crazy' from 1980.

"....They (the Bushmen) must be the most contented people in the world. They have no crime, no punishment, no violence, no laws. No police, judges, rulers or bosses. They believe that the gods put only good and useful things on the earth for them. ln this world of theirs, nothing is bad or evil. Even a poisonous snake is not bad. You just have to keep away from the sharp end.... "

".....Only a few hundred miles to the south, there's a vast city. And here you find civilised man. 'Civilised man' refused to adapt himself to his environment. Instead he adapted his environment to suit him. So he built cities, roads, vehicles, machinery. And he put up power lines to run his labour-saving devices.

But he didn't know when to stop. The more he improved his surroundings to make life easier, the more complicated he made it.

Now his children are sentenced to 10 to 15 years of school, to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat. And civilized man, who refused to adapt to his surroundings, now finds that he has to adapt and re-adapt."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

randomness is.. have no thoughts. like something picked at random, would mean - that something is picked without a prior thought or consideration.

so, what is random thoughts if not an oxymoron? in my context, it is a thought, that's not related to any major current issues - which is not so true.. anything happening around the world, be it near or far, has some significance, to a single person or an entire nation..

shoots.. IT IS an oxymoron.
ok then, from now on, it shall be just.. 'thoughts.'

And so i thought about:

how water and rain can be so therapeutic..

how pretty candlelights are.. (no, NOT for my birthday, norzlin's..)

how cameras, can create such effects..

how my kids like pizza, once in a while..

how i like being around family..

how long more before that pretty salad becomes a mess..

how surprised and appreciative I was of my children's efforts..

how pretty white flowers are..

how THESE pretty tiny white flowers are so often ignored..

how i would like to be able to do that..

how sweet my daughters are..

how I feel like waiting for that water on the edge of the leave to drop..

how long that man will be sitting there, in the rain..

how i love having long long meaningful conversations with nur babe..

*sigh :)* Subhanallah..
Have a lovely rainy day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cleanliness/Courtesy starts with me

You know how we sometimes think that it seems impossible how we, as a single person, can have an effect on the place/country/people?, To make a difference in doing something right?

I believe a person's action/behaviours is quite contagious - as long as it creates an impression on another person. That action/behaviour may be a good or bad one. Both works the same way.

You've heard of 'monkey see, monkey do'? It applies to human too, in general. People see, people do. A very obvious example is the youngsters imitating the famous/notorious ones.

Another example, would be on the roads. When one driver cuts queue in a filtering lane, you are bound to see some other drivers following them, ignoring everything about road ethics ("ha? what road ethics?" they say..).

Or when a car is signalling to come onto the driver's lane, most infantile drivers speed up, so that the signalling car cannot go before them ("Yeay! I get to go first!" they say, in their head). Imagine, always getting that when you're driving - most people would end up doing the same thing. And so, it becomes a norm.

Now imagine, one day, you're signalling, and suddenly, a nice driver actually keeps his speed, or slows down a bit, to let you get into the lane. You'd feel appreciative. And when another car signals to come into your lane, you would feel inclined to let that car come in, just like how the other car let you. And so the driver of the other car, feels the same way as you did, and he'd give way to other signalling cars too.. and so on and so forth. And that is how it can get contagious.

Granted, this may not have impact on everyone - because some people are truly bad trend setters. But I believe it does have impact on most, because most people are neutral, they usually go with the flow.

Imagine also, seeing another person, walking a distance just to throw a small rubbish he was holding in his hand, into a rubbish bin. I'm sure you'd feel a tinge of guilt, if you had some rubbish you were going to throw on the ground. You'd be inclined to also throw it at the rubbish bin, if not there, elsewhere. Unless, of course - you're one of those stubborn ones also.

So you see, the good thing that we do, CAN have an impact on others in subtle but sure ways.

I truly believe in the phrase "Cleanliness or Courtesy starts with ME".
So insyaAllah, I strive to do the right thing and hope to make a difference. InsyaAllah.

"Let there arise out of you a band of people, inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity. "

Al Quran, Ali Imran 3:104

Thursday, August 21, 2008

how to make couples have or have more children

The last time, an increase to 3 mths maternity leave and 2 days annual child care leave, didn't seem to do the trick. So let's see if FOUR months maternity and SIX days child care leave will help.

What do you think?

The day after the speech, we spoke about it a bit, at the office. None of them whom I spoke to, were inclined to have more. Two is enough. Sounds very familiar.

These are the posters from 1970s to 80s. I like that alien family logo, at the bottom left corner of the red poster. :)

Ok, ok now, that is past. Now we need MORE.
But why are they not responding?

Apparently, it's not only about having longer maternity leave or more child care leaves. It's time and money. Everyone is busy everyday and 6 days child care leave is not the answer to taking care of more children. The children are there, 365 days a year.

And everything is expensive now. Considering some school fees, transport, kumon, piano lessons, ballet class, nintendo, psp, crocs, billabong.. I'd say - it IS expensive.

I'm sure it's more of a mentality or mindset issue. Having a clear set of priorities in life. Learning that happiness comes from contentment. Contentment cannot come from more wealth or higher status. There are more chances of contentment from having a big, CLOSE-KNITTED family.

But sadly, right now, Singapore is not 'built' that way. Generally, bosses, especially local ones, do not have so much empathy for.. not just family life - sometimes even personal life. Singaporeans have been shaped over the last 30-40 yrs or so, to live and survive in this kind of environment. It's only business, nothing personal. But having a big family is very personal.

Just look at how employers are reacting to this, and mind you, this is coming from a lady : "Is this fair to her employer and colleagues who are covering for her? This might sound selfish, but when you have to deal with higher costs and increased workloads, there might be little room for sympathy."

So with such kind of reactions from employers - I don't see how, the new benefits will help much.

IMHO, the government will just have to do more towards changing the nation's mindset on work and life, both couples and employers. And having flexible working hours, and an understanding employer would probably prove more effective in encouraging couples to have children or more children.

I'm done with four, thank you.

Illa masyaAllah.

p.s. this is kind of unplugged. I'm tired.

Monday, August 18, 2008

unconscious arrogance?

Ya Allah, forgive me and save me, lest I become unconsciously arrogant.
Or consciously.


my name is erni

Hi, my name is Erni.
Yes, ERNI.


" Hello, is that Aini?"
" Aini? err.. not quite.."
" Ha? this is Sam lah.. the ex neighbour"
" Ooooh Sam! it's erni lah.. "


"Helok, is tat ernard"
"Bernard? You want to speak to Bernard? I think you got the wrong number"
"Not... Ernard. Ernard please?"
"Errm, are you calling from (another country)?"
" ?... oh.. ok.. this is ernard.. I mean erni"


"Her name is Erni", Pink told her non malay friend.
Me : Ya, I'm Erni.. Hi.
NMF : Ernie? as in Ernie and Bird Bert? =D
Me : (Alaaaa!... here we go again.) \:-| aah.. no lah. Not Ernie.. Erni.
NMF : Ah? what?
Pink : Erni. Er..... ni.
NMF : Ha.. wah!.. how to pronounce ah? Eh.. very difficult leh.
I can imagine how difficult it was for her. It sounded like she was trying to make her tongue do an impossible double somersault twirl.
Me : It's ok :-) Ernie will do.
NMF : Eh, nevermind lah.. teach me. I want to pronounce properly.
Appreciative that she's trying, I thought for a while...
Me : Ok.. do you know the 'AIR' that we breathe in? Say 'air'.
NMF : Air?
Me : Right.. So, say.. 'air' 'ny'
NMF : Air-ny (Erni)
Me : There.. you got it.


Oh, and it is also NOT spelled 'Ernie'. It's only Erni - you save 1 key stroke/character space with the correct spelling. :)

Nice to meet you too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

i wonder..

I wonder what comes after a 'gentle' reminder..

The other time someone said, ".. that is, if there is no 'violent' objection from you lah". I wonder how much violence it takes to make a 'violent' objection or is it enough to say, "I object violently", calmly?

I wonder..

This morning's sky was beautiful.. and so are many others from among Allah's creations. I'm always impressed by the sky.. it's like Allah's big canvas, and everyday is a different artwork - different colours, different strokes. different textures..

Saturday, August 09, 2008

live to consume or consume to live?

"We are all consumers, mere units who go out and buy stuff", says a Newsweek reader, in response to an article about the looming recession.

Is that really, what we all have become? Do we go out and toil our hours away at work, just to get more money to consume more unnecessary things and make the rich, richer?

I was out with Rus the other day, at the supermarket. We were at the frozen food aisle. "Yang ini, isi ayam dicampur dengan cheese (this one's got chicken meat mixed with cheese)", Rus said. Next to it, I saw chicken nuggets, chicken wrapped in seaweed, chicken balls and more variety of chickens. I stopped myself.. and I told Rus, "beli ayam aje lah. Tak payah belikan budak2 tu semua. (let's just get the chicken. No need to get the children those other stuff)." Chicken is what we need (want?). I want the kids be used to eating simply.

It got me thinking how ridiculous we have become. We find endless means to make our life more... interesting? fanciful? Eating - food, has become a VERY BIG thing. We eat to live. That's the most basic reason for eating. But human endlessly find more interesting ways to present the food, that we'll gobble up in the next few minutes - the main reason why i don't like to make sushis anymore. I'd take 1-2 hours to prepare the sushis and it takes 15 minutes to finish them all.

I read before, a lady who lived beyond a hundred. What did she eat daily? Plain porridge and water - day in, day out. And what do WE eat? Oh, just..rice with chicken curry and vegetable cooked with soy sauce, omelette with onion, rose syrup drink and perhaps ice cream with fudge later. That's for lunch.

During recession, are we really in dire need, if we can't afford the seaweed chicken or the soy sauce?

So, that's just the food part. Of course there are also other products to make other parts of our life more interesting too - like the different facewashes, soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners - to clean ourselves. And the many many different types and colours of blouses, shirts, pants and skirts - to dress ourselves.

So I think, insyaAllah, we will not necessarily suffer from recession. All we need to learn to do, is to consume lesser and more simply. Learn to live moderately, and if there's some balance - give to charity.

Let the recession, not affect us that much, but only affect the already rich people/companies - they just don't get more and MORE, but insyaAllah they still have lots more, to live on, simply.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

sketch on fax

I started my work life, during those times when email was NOT the main form of communication between one office to another. It used to be the fax machine.

One thing I miss about communications by fax, is the little cute drawings I used to receive on the fax messages from my counterpart in Japan. I'd cut them up and paste them on my document trays.

The precious trays, have been passed down to newer colleagues and by now, I CANNOT locate the trays :'(
I should have kept the trays myself.

The drawings were SOMETHING like this.. only much nicer - especially the hair part.

'Muslimah Anggun'?

And so there will be an online contest called 'Muslimah Anggun'.

I wonder what the objective of this contest is. Are they trying to find a Muslimah role model?
I would understand the need to have a good Muslimah role model, rather than just having the likes of Maya Karin, Fasha Sanda, Rihana or who's that troubled singer with very big hairdo and very thick eyeliner who reminds me of Morticia from Adam's Family? .......... Whatever. Anyhow I truly understand the need.

If that IS the objective, is the criteria enough to find or name a 'Muslimah Anggun'? Then after that, is it enough to just 'crown' her, give her a thousand and end it there?

To enter this event, you'd have to be...err female( this is clear.. so even if you only resemble a female - that's still not accepted), age between 13 (not too young?) to 24, have good looks (very subjective), pleasant personality.
The information that the judges and public will judge upon are: the photo, and the submitted biodata - name, age, occupation, interest.

Those are NOT enough to judge on anggun-ness. What IS 'anggun'? According to a friend of mine, anggun means elegant, noble, dignified, impressive inappearance or manner, and calm. How do you judge elegance, nobleness, mannerism, dignity, calmness - based on the little information provided?

If this contest is to meet the assumed objective, then, they NEED to include in the criteria - speech and intelligence shown through question and answers or a view on a certain issue or ruling. Perhaps knowledge on Islam, and feedback from friends and families on which are the qualities of that person, that they like best.

More emphasis should be given on their personality, intelligence, Islamic knowledge, overall appearance, and general opinion about them - rather than beauty. Because truly, beauty lies from within.. I have seen it many many times - a girl or a guy may not be drop dead gorgeous or even good-looking, but their personality and/or intelligence - make them much more attractive than the most good looking person around. These are the people that would make good role models.

Oh well, I guess this is the first time that such a contest is being organised... kan? I'm not so up to date with such happenings.

There will always be room for improvement. So I hope the next time they organise something like this - they should be clear about their objectives, which should be meaningful. Then organise the whole contest to meet those objectives EFFECTIVELY - and of course, within the boundaries of what is acceptable in Islam. After all, this is a 'Muslimah' we're talking about right?

Monday, August 04, 2008

happiness and excitement?

Happiness and excitement, is in the wanting, and the journey towards achieving it - but not so much in actually having it.

After having it, happiness may only come from sharing it, and being contented and thankful to God for letting us have it - for a while.

AND [remember that] whatever you are given [now] is but for the [passing] enjoyment of life in this world - whereas that which is with God is far better and more enduring. [It shall be given] to all who attain to faith and in their Sustainer place their trust;

Al Quran, Ash-Shura 42:36

Friday, August 01, 2008

morning August sketch

I arrived at the office early today, like 20 mins earlier. These days, I do. MasyaAllah (dengan izin Allah)

I checked my emails, answered a couple. I opened by task list for today.....

No planned task for today.
I should go home.. if only I have an abundance of annual leaves - I don't.

Just now, when I came in, half the lights in office were off. Including the one above me. It was still bright enough to work, in fact it was kind of cosy. Then, when everybody else came in and the office bell went off (yes, we have a bell to mark the start of office hours, start of lunch hours, end of lunch hours and end of office hours - I think everyone loves the tune they play for end of office hours), someone turned on ALL the lights. It's much brighter. I think we are using way too many lights, thus electricity. More than what is actually required.

I'm reading an email.. from a big well known IT company. The address shows Shenton Way.. heh.. everytime you see those kind of address you can guess they are expensive and one third or half of the charges we're paying for, probably goes to rent.


ALIF! - Friday.. yes.