Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Ramadan Week2

Wishing all Muslims
Around the world
May our faith grows stronger
Going into the second week
Of this blessed Ramadan

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Sweet News

"It's 9.4 before breakfast." Elder Sis said over the phone.

The normal target level is within 6 to 8 as informed by the nurse from Woodlands Polyclinic nurse who called me last Thursday to check up on Mom.

"If it's less than 4, then she must take breakfast before 8:00AM."

Mom has been diagnosed as a diabetic on Wednesday at the polyclinic. She has been taking pills to reduce her blood sugar level but now she has to go with daily insulin shots as the level has been too high for several months already, regardless of her best to control her diet.

Being on a wheelchair for most part whenever she is out of the house, she gets very little exercise so the food the she eats is not fully utilized. Predisposed genes of the Malay race and coupled with lots of rich food in our cooking, old age hastens the onset of this disease.

My parents frequent patron of hawker food is also a contributing factor, so she has to drastically reduce buying cooked food from these places as much as possible.

Elder Sis has the experience of caring for a diabetic. She has been caring for her live-in mother-in-law who has both hers legs amputated at the ankles for the past 18 years.

Strict management on her diet and religious checks for bruises on the lower and outer extremities kept her well cared for by Elder Sis.

Elder Sis is quite distraught that she could not take care of her own mother. She really wanted too because she lives nearest to our parents, but can only come as often to check on her and check on her glucose level either in the morning or at night.

She is teaching Mom to alter her diet through cooking simpler dishes and substituting the ingredients to suit diabetics. Dad will have to follow Mom's diet as well... that means tiny amounts of salt and sugar if any. Both of our parents will have to adapt to such meals from now on.

Mom and Dad were taught once at the polyclinic and again by Elder Sis on how to give insulin shots. Both 2nd and 3rd Sis were there too and learned how to use the glucose monitoring and blood pressure monitors for the daily readings.

All the other siblings, including me will have to learn what Mom can and cannot eat and the portion per day of food that she can eat. We will need to learn operating the gadgets to take the readings. We will have to work out a way to take turns to check on and assist our parents.

For now Mom needs to have her Mixtard Insulin only at 10:00PM daily. We are buying lots of syringes and prepare about 10 of them per week with 8ml of insulin in each, ready for Mom's ease of use. This will prevent under or overdose since she or Dad has difficulty reading the tiny level markings on the bottle.

She will need to eat either 1 slice of bread or 3 pieces of crackers with milk after her insulin injection before she goes to bed.

Things can be a little easier if both of our parents are willing to cooperate. 3rd Sis offered to take them in to live with her at least for a week until they settled with the new routine, but both are adamant to stay in their own home and stay independent.

Dad being 83 and has a weak heart, suffers from lung cancer which he is not aware of but are under his Oncologist's and our close watch, will have difficulty to care for Mom.

Mom at the age of 76 on the other hand, now with diabetes, will need special diet as a lifestyle change. The constant readings that are needed to be taken and accurately too to avoid any complications is important and pose challenge for them to operate the gadgets by themselves.

Yet both of them refuse to let any of their children get bogged down with their conditions. They wish to manage it themselves and still remain independent. It is tough and barely doable considering their age.

This worries everyone immensely but we will have to make it work somehow...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Ramadan Week1

Wishing All Muslims
From All Over The World
A Blessed Ramadan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Of Childhood Dreams

My kindergarten school of 2 years at the background.
Photo from National Archives of Singapore

I have always thought of myself as a bit of a day-dreamer since I was small.

The habit never really out-grown me because I sometimes find myself so immersed in that little world of mine, all lost in time but with a smile on my face as I loose track of time here on planet earth.

That may probably explain the "not-so-impressive" grades I have been getting at school... I was not as attentive as I should have been in class except during art class. The thing that I love to do and at least good at.

The thought of creative things at times overtakes me. I can feel the rush of excitement overwhelms me just by thinking about it. Most times these days, that excitement can keep me awake at night. 24 hours a day does not seem to be enough when the creative juices kick in.

This is one of the few "remnants" of my childhood that is still with me today and am thankful for while the rest have faded away through the years... just silly childhood dreams gone unfulfilled in this life time.

Dreams are one thing, but happy times are another. The happiest times I can remember are from my childhood as with many adults I believe. This post is inspired by a dear blogger friend, Sis*Star Kylita with her Ten Childhood Memories list.

Below is my list of ten from the many endless happy times in my childhood that I still remember. Reminiscing it alone carves a big smile on my face...
  1. Daydream on my favourite water-apple tree.
  2. Swimming in flood water in my village during heavy rain.
  3. Playing firecrackers during Ramadan month.
  4. Playing kampung games with the village friends.
  5. Rescue and adopt kittens off the streets.
  6. Climbing and picking fruits off guava trees.
  7. Family picnics at Changi Beach.
  8. Own and care for chicks I bought with my own money.
  9. Going home from school on a trishaw.
  10. Eating satay bought from the traveling hawker.
Wish I have photos of my own to refresh these fading memories... What are yours?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sit Back, Relax

No camping but a relaxing chat on the beach makes up for it

The eve of our National Day was a nice day out for this family.

We scrapped the idea of camping out overnight at Changi Beach Park when Sonny was not keen to sighting his school project needed some extra time to complete.

Campers already set for a long National Day weekend

Instead, we had dinner at Changi Village Hawker Centre and sat on the mat at the beach after that.

It was a nice change to have no techno gadget in anyone's hands to distract us from having good conversation with one another, just catching up.

Wild Red-breasted Parakeet original native of Tasmania

Sonny was particularly chatty that evening, so it was a nice way to get to know the goings-on he has at school... with lessons, teachers and about his friends.

There was a flee market held at the village, so it was a nice change to see so many people there with so many activities along the chalets and the market place. I found my "Eplorer Hat" there for ten bucks.

Flee Market opening along Changi Village Chalets

The once sleepy except for the calls from the many Red-breasted Parakeets on the trees, Changi Village is now quite a happening place.

Yet its rustic charms are still respected while its tranquility especially along the beach and park area are still being retained.

Anglers already set for the night's catch along Changi Beach

As always, the food at the hawker centre is always delicious regardless of which of the many Malay foodl stall we chose to buy our food from.

It is amazing how much technology has replaced face to face conversation within the family itself. The many modern day methods of communications can never replace the good old face to face converstation.

Changi Ferry Terminal against the setting sun

The chats we had at the beach was enlightening and strengthens our family bond all the more. It was as if once we got away from technology, we discover the bare and basic enjoyment of communication again.

Flee Market at Changi Village Market

Many items caught Wifey's & Sonny's attention

3 Red-breasted Parakeets making lots of noise on the trees

Flee Market just starting for the night along Changi Village Chalets

Lots of items sold temptingly cheap at this flee market

A lone Red-breasted Parakeet peeling the bark off the tree

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back In Focus

I got my zoom lens from the old Canon Film Camera back from cleaning service and am very happy.

It is quite fortunate that the old lens can still be compatible and used on the new Canon EOS 450D dSLR I purchased a while back.

Since I first brought back my dSLR camera home, I discovered that the two old lenses fitted nicely onto the new camera and its auto-focus mechanism responded exactly as the new one. I was ecstatic!

The 2 old lens - an EF35-85mm and EF75-300mm Zoom Lens did burnt quite a big hole in my pocket back then. I was quite sad when my most trusted film camera was rendered obsolete when the digital era began.

Since I first invested on a full-fledged digital camera - a Panasonic Lumiz DMC FZ10, the old camera and its lenses sat in my desiccator and became untouched for years... until now.

My Lumiz became my trusted new friend, yet I missed the old one because it could do just as good. Only drawback was the absence of the MegaOS or anti-shake function as compared to my fixed lens Lumiz and the new EF18-200 USM Lens.

After months of research and comparisons between brands and models, I decided that my next upgrade was a Canon EOS 450D dSLR. The good comments and researched comparisons made by a very good website called reaffirmed my choice.

The compatibility that Canon gives for the old lenses with the new dSLR body was a pleasant surprise for me. I have no idea how I could have missed the feature that was definitely a decisive factor I would have wanted.

After months of saving-up, the opportunity to own one came at a perfect timing. I got to own one at a promo price at the quarterly Computer and IT Show.

The two old lenses worked with the new body but were all fogged-up. There was no escape from fungus attack even when I stored them in my desiccator.

Again I saved-up to realize a budget and had both lenses cleaned. I logged-on to Canon Singapore for such service and was happy to receive their call the next day for a pick-up arrangement from my home.

After 3 days, Canon service technician called to inform my lenses status. They could only get rid of about 70 to 80% of the fungus off my EF75-300mm Zoom Lens. It was not worth the money to save the other EF35-80mm lens as the recovery was only about 50%.

Both lenses no longer had any spares available for replacements as the lenses were already obsolete.

So, last Tuesday, 4th August 2009, the courier from Yamato Logistics delivered my lenses back. It cost me S$80.00 for the EF75-300mm Zoom Lens for the service while the collection and delivery was at $14.00. In all I spent S$100.58 with the GST included.

The first thing I did to test it was taking pictures of the full moon out from my window... zoomed in at its fullest and was very happy that it gave a clear enough photo... at least with these untrained eyes.

So now, I am happy to lug around my zoom lens in my bag when I carry my dSLR with me during outings. Besides zooming in on far away objects, the macro is superb especially with the even fuzzier background it creates to give more attention to the subject... is now back in focus.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Island In Celebration

Wishing All Singaporeans
Happy 44th Birthday!

May We Have Peace
Prosperity & Progress
For Our Nation

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hort Park Couple

I have always wanted to attend a pop/rock concert when I was younger. I never did get to watch any live performance from the big names that came by Singapore to do their shows. The ticket prices were the major "show-stopper" for me.

I never really cared much to purposely attend cultural shows even when those were free. Only chanced upon them during my weekend outings or shopping with my then girlfriend who is now my Wifey.

So other culture exposures were limited to only during family vacations or tours.

Well, this entry is not about cultural performance of the arts kind but of the Mother Nature; Horticulture... my cup of tea.

This afternoon, Wifey decided that she wanted to join me on my “photo-shoots” trips since “it’s been so long since we go out to parks together... I need my exercise.”

We have been going out on weekends to shop for Hari Raya. So the past few weekends had seen us stepping into one shopping mall to another. I am so glad that that is over and I can now get back to nature again before the Muslim Fasting Month starts end August.

Just recovered from a bout of flu, scared out of our wits when the doctor suspected Swine Flu or widely called here as H1N1, Wifey is now ready to do some walking exercises again.

I picked Hort Park as the place to be since it involved not much of uphill walking with plenty of resting spots and eating places across the entire park.

For the learned and enthusiasts, the place is of a horticultural haven where the arboretum provides horticulturists and botanists ample plant species and special facilities.

For the commoners like us, it is a beautiful park with lots of beautiful flowering plants and with such amenities like resting spots, eating places and playground, the place is suitable for families and especially children.

The ride in the MRT – Mass Rapid Transit train from Tampines to Queenstown was uneventful. Chatting with Wifey made the 40 minutes journey bearable. We switched to bus Service 195 where we reached Hort Park about 4 bus stops away, alighting along Depot Road.

Being there at almost midday was not such a good idea. The overcast weather did not do much help to shield us from the scotching sun… but provided wonderful lighting for photography.

Some flowers did not favour the sweltering heat and appeared wilted in the sun, while others flourish gloriously showing off its colourful petals to the world while attracting in the bees and nectar-drinking sunbirds.

Wifey was patient with me as she waited for me to take pictures and read the signboards the park installed on virtually every species of plants and trees.

It got to the point where she developed a headache, probably not recovered fully from her flu, but most certainly from the sweltering heat.

She took Panadol while we were at the horticulture market, but the throbbing pain in her head did not go away too quickly for poor Wifey. We barely covered half of the entire park, just up to the orchid patio when Wifey requested that we turned back and head for home.

While in the train back, she got some shut eye and was feeling better and hungry.

We alighted at Bedok MRT station had our early dinner at Banquet. The usual “you guessed it right” dish was ordered. It was Tom Yam Fried Fish Noodle for the both of us and bought a pack of Fried Seafood Noodle for Sonny who would be coming home from his Malay tuition class by then.

I realized that I had taken over 200 photos at the park and yet cover barely half of the place!

Unlike the vast open spaces of land of the Singapore Botanical Garden has to offer visitors, Hort Park is a smaller but condensed version of the park showcasing the many plant and tree species with welcoming spots for resting and refreshments.

Like insects, the countless flowering plants and shrubs are so attractive to me… so like Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered before “I’ll be back” not to destroy but to appreciate God’s cheerful creations.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Spize My August

Beginning of the month is my favourite time of the whole month, simply because it is payday and with that, like an unofficial family ritual, we go out for a good sit-down meal.

Be it lunch or dinner, it will be a good, long and scrumptious meal for the three of us.

Saturday was a Spize day.

With a heavy breakfast of Lontong and Mee Rebus late in the morning, we skipped lunch altogether and decided for an early dinner instead when our stomachs started growling by 3:00PM.

We intended to have our dinner at Syed's outdoor restaurant. Situated at Simpang Bedok, near Bedok Market... the same place we had last month, but because we were too being there, the kitchen was not open to heavy sit-down meals as yet.

It was 4:30PM and we were already there for our early dinner!

We moved to the next door Spize Restaurant for our family meal. There, the signature Tom Yam Seafood has crayfish as well... Sonny favourite after lobster.

The same types of dishes were called... Tom Yam Seafood Soup, Baby Kailan in Oyster Sauce and Stingray in BBQ Sambal, with white rice.

It was the same dishes we would have ordered at Syed's, but at Spizes, it did not include the thick omelet with chopped onions and chili that I love so much. I think it would have completed the whole dinner experience perfectly.

Nonetheless, the meal at Spize was delicious too and satisfying.

With a heavy dinner, we walked out all that extra calories at Tampines 1.

Strangely enough, it was Wifey's and my first time stepping into the posh shopping mall in Tampines Central after it opened a few months back. The third mall there but catering to the "higher class" residents living in nearby condos and landed properties.

With so many specialty carrying branded goods there, we could have mistaken for once that we were in one of Orchard Road's many shopping malls... Singapore's upscale tourist shopping belt.

So, judging by the price tags there, we are more than happy to shop at Tampines Mall and Century Square for the average people like us.

Not so much of a turn-off though. Tampines 1 brings to us the up-town standard of living to our estate. Hopeful that it will appreciate the value of our homes in Tampines Newtown.