20 February 2010

Children - kindness & cruelty

It has been a good, family oriented Chinese New Year celebration. As usual, lots of eating and meeting up with relatives we don't see very often. Keeps the ties connected.

We were at a friend's open house last night. And what I saw of children's behaviour concerned me.

After the food was served and tummies filled, some of the kids ran into the house to play together. Most of the adults sat outside chatting and eating. As is my usual practice, I would go check on the kids after a little while.

I found my kids in the TV area, playing. Most of the kids were around my son's age while my daughter was the youngest one there, just following whatever the older kids were doing. When I got to the TV room, there was one other mom sitting there. I sat down to watch - the TV as well as the kids.

At this time, the kids were already into what they were doing - and that was having a pillow fight. But the pillow fight was not a random pillow fight with unspecified targets. The kids had somehow targetted a boy and they were all hitting him with pillows. The girls were particularly vicious and persistent. I saw my son enjoying the spectacle, and joining in as well as encouraging his sister to do the same. My little girl hit the boy once with her pillow, then stopped. The victim was not a small boy, and if he retalliated, I am sure some of the girls would end up in tears. He was however, restrained (I like to believe it is because of his good upbringing) and merely shouted his warnings to his tormentors to stop. But at breaking point, he pushed one girl and swiped another with a pillow.

On my part, I signalled my son to stop participating in the "bullying". He complied, a little reluctantly. And I said to the group in general to stop the pillow fight. The other mom sitting with me said nothing. The mom of the victim arrived shortly and told her son to behave himself and not make trouble. Of course, the boy was aghast and protested that he was being attacked. But his mom did not reprimand the other kids, and merely repeated her request to her son to behave. An older sister of one particularly vicious girl came round and led her away.

Now, in such situations, what would you as a mom have done? Many would feel that until and unless things got really dicey, they would say nothing. They may instruct their own chidren to stop playing or lead them away from the area. But I am certain no mom would reprimand other people's children. The "mind your own business" mentality, or "the other mom would not like it" kinda thinking. So we just stand by and allow the kids to bully? The kids there were all about 9 years of age.

When we got home that night, I sat my boy and girl down for a talk. I told them that what they did was bullying. Targetting someone and attacking that person as a group. I asked the reason for the attack, and my son couldn't say. I asked if it was fun. He didn't deny it. I asked him to place himself in the boy's position and to feel whether he would like it. I explained to my kids about compassion and doing to others what you would like others to do to you. I told them in any bullying situtation to walk away and to report it.

Chidren can be cruel. Don't fool yourself into thinking they are innocent and kind and know right from wrong. They need our guidance so much.

05 February 2010

Some Malaysians still do care

As I approached the large round-about with the fountain on my way home after dropping my son off at school, I noticed that a lady on a motorbike had somehow lost her balance and had tipped over on the left lane. Fortunately, she must have been going slow as her bike was leaning against the raised pedestrian footpath on the left lane, and her school going child was already sitting down on the footpath. The mother had some difficulty uprighting her bike.

I was driving on the left lane, approaching the distressed motorcyclist. I slowed down and turned on my hazard signal, and was wondering how I could assist. Well I didn't have to, as an Indian man and another Chinese guy on their respective bikes were stopping to help the lady.

My heart was so glad to see this today, and the lady on the fallen bike was smiling - so all was well.

Ong Kee chicken & bean sprouts

Too tired to go to the market, I decided to eat out with the kids and maid after school. I had planned to go straight from school to the chicken and bean sprout shops in town but an unexpected downpour left my son and me soaked. So home we went to dry off and change, before heading to town again.

We had tried Onn Kee with hubby before but the taste didn't quite sit with me. So I wanted to try Lo Wong tonight, but alas, it was closed! So we walked across to Ong Kee instead.

Maybe it was the weather, as everyone was voraciously hungry. The food came quickly. I thought the chicken was nicely tender and the sauce tasty and not too oily. The bean sprouts were the usual Ipoh best - fat, short, crispy and white.

Thumbs up for Ong Kee.

Weng Kee Restaurant

It feels like it's been a long time since we tried a new place to eat. The December school holidays just flew by in a blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was January and back to school for the kids.

Well last weekend we decided to eat at Weng Kee in Ipoh Garden South, just next to Scotch Pub. I'd been looking at it for a while now, and hubby said the last time he tried it, it was quite ok. And the speciality there is "lai yau yu" , that is buttered fish.

We had a very large dish of buttered fish - it was crispy and buttery alright, with lots of little butter crisps and deep fried curry leaves to put on top of your rice! The taufoo dish was saucy and tender, good for kids. Sweet and sour pork tasted fine, but was just a touch dry. Perennial favourite sambal kangkung turned out alright too. The pricing at Weng Kee was also reasonable, coming to Rm78 for the 5 of us - much more reasonble than Yum Yum Seafood Restaurant in Ipoh Garden South which I maintain is overpriced!

Service at Weng Kee was efficient though the "si tau poh" at first was rather surly, but improved her mood later on. The restaurant's menu has other dishes that we will return to try another time.