Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee by Chiang Siew Lee

Title: Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee
Author: Chiang Siew Lee
Year: 2011
ISBN: 978-983-99056-0-1

Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee was written by Chiang Siew Lee about her first born child, Eng Seng. It was a series of letters written from Eng Seng's perspective to his aunt Tua Ee Siew Hong (the author's elder sister) who is residing in Brazil with her family. This series of letters was actually a regular feature column in The New Sunday Times newspaper's Style section in 1992.

This series of letters were written soon after Eng Seng was born, as his parents became the first-time parents, facing the ultimate challenges of parenthood. It covered the first two years of Eng Seng's life and these letters were written by the author as a catharsis to cope with the stress of experiencing parenthood for the very first time.

Eng Seng told all of his adventures being the first born in the family and the experience of being the centre of attention where the gathering of relatives and outings were concerned. They were told in a simple but mostly in a baby-talk manner. These letters were amusing to read as they virtually take the readers inside a baby's mind and how it really works, in reaction to the adults' actions in entertaining and trying to get the attention of the baby, in this case was Eng Seng.

Not only that, these letters were also able to give an excellent insight as to how Eng Seng had to cope with his daily life as a baby and toddler of two years being extremely structured by his parents and his paediatrician. And Eng Seng managed to face the experience of baby- and toddler-hood in his stride, and at the same time amuse and frustrate the adults around him, especially his parents.

I find this book very enjoyable read because it reminded me of the time when back then it was featured as a regular column in The New Sunday Times' Style section. These letters constantly kept me spellbound, eager to find out what would be Eng Seng's next adventure every week when the said newspaper was published. Honestly, I'm glad that the letters now are immortalised into a book, where I could read them in one continuous flow, also over and over again if I wish to do so.

I highly recommend this book to readers who especially are facing parenthood for the very first time and even to readers who are already seasoned parents. Not only that, this book also include an epilogue as to where Eng Seng is in the present day, not to mention his younger sister, born two years after him, as well as Tua Ee Siew Hong, whom Eng Seng has "written" to when he was a baby and a toddler of two years.

I give a double thumbs-up for Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

What do you call this? An irony or an oxymoron or both?

Last week I had to attend to some personal matters in a particular government department. I had arrived very early and had to use the ladies' toilet meant for the public, and this is what I found:

The notice behind the door of cubicle no. 2 - Translation: You are prohibited from disposing of sanitary napkins and toilet paper into the toilet bowl.

But there is NO sanitary bin and/or dustbin for the purpose stated on the note found behind  the door!

A few hours of later after I had finished attending to my personal matters and I had to use the toilet before I leave the place. I went to the same toilet but I used a different cubicle this time, and you can guess what I had found:

The same notice behind the door of cubicle no. 1 - Translation: You are prohibited from disposing of sanitary napkins and toilet paper into the toilet bowl.
Again, there is NO sanitary bin and/or dustbin for the purpose stated on the note found behind  the door!
So, what would do if you come across this situation? How would you dispose of the used sanitary napkins and/or used toilet paper? For your information, there is ONLY ONE standard-sized pedal dustbin and NO sanitary bins located in the wash basin area. 

Not mention, hundreds of members of the public would come to this particular government department for various reasons every working day during the week, throughout the year. You can imagine what condition this toilet would be at the end of the working day, although the cleaners DO provide reasonable standard of cleaning services at the start of each working day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Common Cuckoo Bird

I was doing my regular swimming in an outdoor pool I often frequent yesterday. While taking a short rest in between doing repetitive laps in the pool, I observed one pair of  the common cuckoo birds playing around the poolside. Their playfulness attracted my attention, although rapid development is happening in an area very near the pool I was swimming in, there are still some trees and grass at the poolside area, which seemed to have become a haven for different species of birds to come and play with their mates and even to bathe in the heavily chlorinated pools.

I was and am still very awed at the beauty and simpleness of this little scene playing in front of my very own eyes. Unfortunately for me as I was wet from head to toe I was unable to capture an image of this beautiful scene with my camera. But it is already in my mind's eye as being an extremely observant person, I rarely forget beautiful scenes or happenings like the one I have just described.

Initially I had mistaken the common cuckoo bird for a baby pigeon but after being explained to by Mom and upon closer look, they ARE indeed very different from baby pigeons. Although the common cuckoo bird's feathers were far from colourful and attractive like some other birds I have seen in my house garden, I have come to appreciate the fact these birds are REALLY a wonder and a sight to behold, although I'm no bird expert.

I observed they that always come in pairs, not alone or in a flock, but in a pair of two birds like they are made for each other, i.e. soul mates. These common cuckoo birds also frequent the garden in my house and thus, after the initial enlightenment from Mom I have come to REALLY appreciate their presence because they simply reminded me of life's simple pleasures and the wonderment and beauty of God's creatures.