30 December 2009

Exes and friends

Some people believe that ex-boyfriends/girlfriends can never be friends after the event. There is just too much baggage to deal with, especially if one side still harbours any feelings or hopes for rekindling the relationship. It also depends on how bad the breakup was.

I think as adults, ex partners can still be friends, have the occasional chat or email exchange, even look each other up. Just like any other friend from college.

For me, I have no difficulty being friends with an ex. I am secure in my own position as a married person, a mother and the past is history, though sometimes a little murky and unclear!

Time, of course, is a great healer. No matter how bad misunderstandings were, over time, people can arrive at a time and place where things can be viewed in a different and calmer perspective, with the wisdom of hindsight and experience.

My sister-in-law just had a visit from an ex-boyfriend, and he stayed over at the family home. She graciously showed him around town and the rest of the family also joined them over dinners and lunches. Hmm......any more embers glowing? Who knows, maybe .........

25 December 2009

Be proactive - it makes a difference

My little baby girl will to go kindergarten for the first time next year, and I already have butterflies in my stomach!

When my son was in kinder back in KL, he had 3 hours of classes. Here in Ipoh, it seems that kinders tend to go for a bit longer - 3.5 hours. So, I was quite distressed when informed by my daughter's kinder that they would extend the hours to 4 hours next year. Apparently it is required by the Ministry of Education.

I tried to obtain a confirmation on this matter from the Ministry of Education. Of course, true to form, I spent a whole morning calling MoE in Putrajaya, with either nobody picking up the phone, the line being busy or the person who eventually did pick up the phone directing me to another number! Well, guess I have to trust the kindergarten....why else would they want to voluntarily want to extend their hours anyway?

So, the new hours are 0830-1230. Such long hours for my poor little baby girl. I quickly called the principal to ask what the extra half hour would be for. She told me not to worry; 0830-0845 would be assembly while 0845-0900 would be snack time. Then classes all the way until 1230.

I feel that schedule could be improved. It is too much to expect young children to sit down for classes for 3.5 hours at a stretch without a snack break. The snack time at 0845 is redundant as the children would have been fed breakfast at home before going to kinder. It makes much more sense to move the snack time midway to about 10am. That would re-energise the kids and rejuvenate their attention. I expressed as much to the principal but of course she politely said the schedule would be fine.

Using an email the principal had sent to parents, I initiated contact with the parents on the email list and explained my concerns, inviting their feedback. I was pleased to receive many replies - all of them saying that they were not aware of the change in snack time and that they too agreed with me that it was inappropriate. I suggested that we should speak to the principal together on this matter. I am glad I was proactive in approaching other parents with my concern, and equally happy that the other parents were responsive.

It cuts across all matters - educational issues, politics, cultural interaction, bad government administration - we need to be proactive and responsive, otherwise who is to make the difference? The old habit of "let others do it" or "why bother" must go!

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22 December 2009

Root canal treatment

Do you like going to the dentist, or are you one of those who shudder at the very thought? My husband just hates going to the dentist. But I love it. I like having my teeth cleaned and polished....yummy, my mouth feels so fresh and clean after.

How about root canal treatment? That's what you need to do under a specialist dentist called an endodontist (GP dentists do it too, to earn more money, but they can really botch up the job).

Endodontics is the specialty of dentistry that deals with the diseases of the dental pulp. The word is Greek; “endo” means inside, and “odont” means tooth. The inside of the tooth has a space which contains nerves and blood vessels. When combined these are called the “dental pulp”. Although the pulp is important for the development of the tooth, it is not necessary for the tooth to function. Therefore, this tissue maybe removed, and the tooth maintained in the mouth.

I had one done when I was in university. My one and only tooth with a filling started to ache really badly and it turned out that the filling over time, had eroded and my tooth had become infected to the point that it was dying. The options were either to extract it or to save the tooth via a root canal treatment. These days, people try not to unnecessarily lose their teeth as it impedes chewing and well, it doesn't look good either.

So I had the root canal treatment done by an endodontist - in Australia! That costs a bomb.

This year when my little girl was nipped on the face by our dog Bonnie, her top frontal baby tooth was chipped at an angle, exposing the veins. The dentist who examined her said that she could extract it (my girl is only 4) or we could try to save the baby tooth by doing a root canal treatment. The cons for extracting it so early is that her permanent teeth won't start coming in until after she's 6, and with a gap in her front row, the other teeth might start to drift and crowd out the space, making it difficult for her permanent tooth to eventually erupt in the correct position.

So, we opted for a root canal for my girl. Poor darling....only 4 and doing a root canal treatment. But she is a very brave and cooperatve little girl, and the endodontist we used, Jac Lam Endodontics at Wisma Perintis in Damansara Heights, is an excellent endodontist. Light and sure handed, reassuring and patient, Dr. Lam said my little girl is his youngest and most cooperative patient yet. All went well, and her little chipped tooth is still held in place after the treatment.
(image from http://www.dentalstudentbooks.com/dentistry/endodontics.html)

21 December 2009

Renewing and making new ties

My family's first year-end school holidays in Ipoh is flying by. It is going by so much faster than I expected.

It has been a wonderful time of renewing ties - both friendship and family.

Old friends had come to visit and stay with us. Our kids were introduced to each other and enjoyed playing together. The house was filled with happy shrieks and adult chatter.

Then there were catch-ups over Ipoh white coffee - at the old style coffee shops, not those expensive franchised cafes - with ex colleagues and former classmates who were either passing through Ipoh or here to visit relatives.

And just over the weekend, the wedding of my first cousin's daughter - that is, my first cousin once removed - presented another wonderful opportunity for the entire extended family to come together to celebrate the event. There were grand aunts and grand uncles, aunts and uncles, siblings, first cousins, first cousins once removed, second cousins.....

The wedding was a first of its kind for our large family, as the nuptial saw my Chinese first-cousin-once-removed wed a Malay husband. They had been dating for 8 years. What's the big deal, some of you might say? Well, I guess in this day and age, inter-racial marriages have become more common. But that does not mean, it makes them any easier.

There are the huge differences in cultural practices as well as religious beliefs to contend with. With respect to these practices, for my first-cousin-once-removed, that would mean a conversion to Islam, adopting "Abdullah" behind her name, eliminating certain foods from her diet, perhaps even a change in the way she dresses. Her new husband is fortunate that he need not change any of the lifestyle habits he has known all his life. Still, the choice is theirs and they married for love, aspiring to spend their lives together and raise their own family.

The wedding dinner was a "halal" Chinese banquet - respecting the Muslim faith - and the fathers of the groom and bride, respectively, presented their eloquent speeches. I must congratulate my cousin on his speech regarding his daughter's inter-racial marriage, which I roughly quote: "We share more in common than we do differences. We are all Malaysians. Let's make 1Malaysia a success." A noble giving-away speech.

I wish my first-cousin-once-removed all the happiness and success in her marriage.