Monday, April 30, 2007

Two minutes to share a lifetime of love

My mom is one of six ladies who will be receiving an award from Avon as their tribute to Mothers who have helped shape the nation. The event is on Thursday 3rd May, with our new Queen as the guest of honour.

As part of their programme, Avon wants the children of these six ladies to give a two minute tribute on stage about their mom. So of course, my mom asked me to do it. (My brother Mike has a tendency to tell his fishing jokes and once he even broke out in a Hindi song!)

So panic, panic... as usual, I have been doing my best not to think about it (cannot afford to be stuck in 'mm'). But the rehearsal is on Wed - that's day after tomorrow!!!

It's not the stage fright that is scary - it is that I only have two minutes. How can I possibly squeeze in everything that I feel about Mom in such a short time? What if I leave something out? What if I fall short of the task and my tribute doesn't live up to the glory of my Mom?

It's funny how life turns out, isn't it? I spend my life in advertising, trained to squeeze compelling selling messages into just 30 secs. Compared to that, 120 secs should seem long. But it isn't.

One night we were on the way home from dinner, and it happened that it was just Mom and me in the car. Out of the blue, she turned to me and said "You know, you're so good to me now, but I think I've neglected you when you were a child. I was always so busy. I was hardly ever at home." That took me totally by surprise! I felt so warm, so touched.

She doesn't usually say things like this. Whenever I get mushy with her and tell her how much I love her, she always says "Aiya, I don't know how to say things like that." So for her to say this was a complete surprise. And I've been thinking that I don't spend enough time with her.

Anyway, I squeezed her hand, and suddenly, there was a movie playing in my head - a movie of my childhood memories with mom. As each sweet memory came up, I described it to her. She couldn't remember much but it didn't matter. The feeling that came with each memory just radiated out from both our hearts and filled the car. It was like we were in one happy bubble - pity the car ride had to end.

My relationship with my Mom has been rocky over the years. When I was much younger, I used to blame her for every inadequacy I had. Yup, I was a complete victim of 'my Mom didn't bring me up properly'. Aaw, poor little me... hahahaha!

Well, I got over that a long time ago when I moved into my guilty phase : "Mom has been so great and I never loved her enough, I haven't done enough for her, I'm taking her for granted, and so on..."

I've only recently got over that. I got over being stuck in my beliefs and focussed on just being present with her. And now, our relationship is the sweetest it has ever been. Thanks to Bisma, I woke up to how important it is to be present and fully appreciate each and every moment.

So I am glad that I have this opportunity now. And I think that's why I woke up at 4.45am, fresh and unable to go back to sleep. I've been lying in bed trying to figure out what to say. Think I have something in mind now - something risky but something that is important to my family, and it is something that only I am daring enough to do.

I'm not going to share it yet, still need to think it through first before I start writing the words. I always say this to our participants : crystalise your intention and your message first. Then the words will flow.

Since I started 95%, it seems that I get thrown a bigger challenge each year. Last year, it was being MC at Kancil Awards. The year before it was a letter for my brother. Now, it's Mom.

It always comes to this : If I had a platform to speak and be heard, what would I say?

What would YOU say?

Imagine if you had this one chance to say something about YOUR mom, what would you say? Think about it - and I challenge you to find a way to actually deliver it in front of her.

Ok, time for my second cup of coffee. Hope you have a blessed week ahead, and may your mom receive lots of love and blessings too :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yikes... Termites!

I love reading, I love books. I've spent years and heaps of money collecting books.

I have two cousins who share my love for the sci-fi and fantasy genre. One is in Melbourne and the other is in Hong Kong (he was previously studying in America) and whenever we met, we would introduce books to each other.

I remember my Melbourne cousin took me to Minotaur, a specialist bookstore, and I went crazy! Thank God for credit cards - I've never bought that many books at one go. I just couldn't control myself. There were so many stories that I just HAD to have. When I arrived back in KL with my suitcase full of books, the customs officer eyed me so suspiciously - I remember he even went through my whole suitcase and picked up almost every book.

Most of them had strange titles that he could not fathom, like 'Dragon On A Pedestal' and 'Geis of the Gargoyle' - I could see the question marks in his mind??? Then he saw one title 'For the love of Gaia' (Gaia being the spirit or goddess of Earth) and he said "Oh, semua ni love story ye?" Hahaha.. well, ok, fine - if that will stop his MM and let me pass through, fine. All love stories.

I bought the complete set of Xanth books by Piers Anthony (he had written only about 14 then), the complete 'Incarnations of Immortality' series by same author, the complete 'Riftwar Saga' by Raymond E. Feist, the classic Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and I discovered an extremely meaningful series called 'Cat-Fantastic' - compilations of fantasy cat stories! Oh, they really touched me so deeply, I could relate to those stories like they have been buried inside my soul for years and years, just waiting to be awakened and brought to full consciousness. Yes, it is just stories about cats. But you know how I feel about cats.

Ok, so I had this amazing collection and I still read them from time to time. I also spent years collecting the Katherine Kerr series - about reincarnations and a magician named Nevyn. I remember one birthday, Peter made me so very happy because he managed to track down that one missing book in the series that I could not find. It was 'The Bristling Wood' and he found it in a second hand bookshop.

So what does all this have to do with termites?

My house has become infested with termites. I think it must have developed over the past year or two.

And their nest is in my bookcase :(

Oh woe, my wonderful books have become termite cities, termite buffets. Termite highways now link one author to the next, termite catacombs (like honeycombs) are all that are left of my Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series :(

Termites have also spread to our walls and wooded floors. The electrician, who was the one who alerted us to this problem, said our whole house is in danger of collapsing!!!

Dad immediately got an exterminator to come and check it out. They said they would set traps with insecticide and trap the buggers. Not harmful to cats or humans, but damn tasty and lethal to termites. It would cost RM5,500 for a one year contract. Wow, I thought, so expensive! But if it can lure the termites away from my books, it would be worth it.

That was about a month ago. The termite traps have not caught anything. The exterminator said our termites are 'intelligent'. Dad wrote and asked them to explain how termites can be more intelligent than the exterminator. We're still waiting for an answer.

Anyway, as this is the only weekend where Sonny and I are not working, he decided that we must clear the room. Ok, fine. Let's do it.

And we started with my bookcase. Sigh... so sad, so sad to reluctantly let each book go. Sonny was making jokes and termite puns all the way. Some were actually funny, but I was too miserable to listen. Will I ever be able to build back my collection? There was so much inspiration there...

Anyway, the one great blessing is that my much-loved Cat-Fantastic books were ok. Thank You, God.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Sweet, Sweet Surprise

A really nice thing happened today : I had a sudden sugar-craving so I went down to the coffee shop to buy some chocolate. I looked around but could not find any.

Dear En Faisal, the owner noticed my plight and asked what I was looking for. When I told him I wanted a bar of chocolate, he sadly shook his head and said "oh we don't sell that". Then he added "but if your need is urgent, I will let you have some of mine".

My eyes popped open; I could barely believe my ears.

He opened his fridge, reached into his secret hiding place, and pulled out a huge bar of Lindt chocolate! Lindt! Wow!

He broke off a huge portion and gave it to me! Wow! I was so touched, I almost floated out of his shop. And I'm still smiling as I write this : he has just reminded me of how pure and beautiful the human heart can be. This unexpected gift has lifted me. If you're reading this, I wish you too will receive an unexpected gift today!

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)