Thursday, September 18, 2014

牵一只蜗牛去散步




上帝给我一个任务,叫我牵一只蜗牛去散步。

我不能走得太快,蜗牛已经尽力爬,每次总是挪那么一点点。
我催它,我唬它,我责备它,蜗牛用抱歉的眼光看着我,彷佛说: “人家已经尽了全力!”
我拉它,我扯它,我甚至想踢它,蜗牛受了伤,它流着汗,喘着气,往前爬。
真奇怪,为什么上帝叫我牵一只蜗牛去散步?

“上帝啊!为什么?”天上一片安静。
“唉!也许上帝去抓蜗牛!”
好吧!松手吧!反正上帝不管了,我还管什么?
任蜗牛往前爬,我在后面生闷气。

咦?我闻到花香,原来这边有个花园。
我感到微风吹来,原来夜里的风这么温柔。
慢着!我听到鸟叫,我听到虫鸣,我看到满天的星斗多亮丽。
咦?以前怎么没有这些体会?

我忽然想起来,莫非是我弄错了!
原来上帝叫蜗牛牵我去散步。


作者: 张文亮

Sunday, September 14, 2014

喜欢 . 一个人

同事Amy到巴塞罗那旅游,寄住朋友家。朋友每天陪她四处走,带她去吃好吃的,介绍她好玩的。“这个你一定要试试…那里你非去不可…” 朋友的过度热诚反而让Amy觉得压力好大,几天后决定搬进饭店。她告诉我:I needed my own space. 

我能理解。

曾经读过一篇文章,細写外向与内向的个人偏好。外向的人从外界获取能量,因而喜欢社交环境。内向的人从自身获得能量,所以累的时候喜欢独处;喜欢一个人吃饭、看戏、旅行,对单独行动有动巨大的满足感。我,是个非常珍惜个人空间的人。

对我而言有人陪伴是福份,但累的时后总向往一片自由的天空。一个人坐在露天cafe,悠闲地阅读;一个人搭长途巴士,静静地欣赏窗外的一景一物;一个人站在窗前发呆,看云 - 都是我放松的方式。

“没有人给你作伴,让你一个人吃饭,看戏,好可怜哦!” 朋友Moon就不能理解我为何喜欢独处,“我就从不敢一个人吃饭,shopping。有一次试着自己吃饭,进了餐厅坐下,感到很awkward, as if all eyes are on me.  觉得餐厅里的人都在悄悄谈论着我,说我独自一人用餐好可怜!结过我没点餐就逃了出来。“

我反觉得Moon有这种想法还挺 pathetic 呢!:)

最近公司的APAC Conference被取消了。本想趁这空档一个人跑去台北充电。不料父亲前几天跌伤了,所以我就不去了。以为饭店定金和廉价机票报全都报销,没想到lose out 的只是airfare而已!航空公司还是会把taxes 归还的。

Dandy Hotel (Tianjin Branch)对我也好好哦。当我说明取消的理由后她们竟然把定金都还我耶! 我曾告诉过你关于台湾人情味,对吧?准备再次入住丹迪旅店就是这原因啊!呼吁大家多到台湾玩,去台北时一定要住丹迪旅店(天津店)哦!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pesky Pigeons (2)

Some months ago Dad got into the habit of feeding the pigeons that sometimes come to rest on the ledge below the Master bedroom window. Mom and I put up a good fight against the idea but Dad, being the stubborn tyrant that he is, refuses to listen to reason. 

Each morning Dad would set aside half a cup of rice and two slices of bread for his new friends. (One time Mom forgot and ate the last two slices of bread and he threw a pretty nasty tantrum. ) He would patiently cut the bread into tiny cubes so that the birds can peck them up easily. The feed, sprinkled on the window ledge twice a day, attract half a dozen pigeons (sometimes more) at a time. It wouldn’t be so bad if they fed silently and then fly away. Half the time they would squabble or fight, causing a din. The worse part of it all - feathers come flying into the house, and pigeon poop left behind.

Two weeks ago Dad contacted a serious flu bug. A few days later Mom had high fever and a bad cough. Shortly after, I came down with a cold as well. 

During the two days that Dad was in the hospital and there wasn’t anyone home to feed the birds, they still ban together below the window. Once I even caught one pecking on the window pane. On the evening that Dad was admitted into TTSH, his sister paid a visit. My aunt was horrified to learn that we had been feeding pigeons. Pigeon poop, she warned, carries more diseases that one can ever imagine.  No wonder we were falling sick!  At least, Mom and I immediately used that as an excuse to persuade Dad from feeding the pigeons once and for all. 

So Dad reluctantly agreed to give up his new found pastime.  It has been tough to wean the pigeons off their daily bread. Today is the forth day that we’ve stopped putting out bread and rice but each time we open that window (or just merely standing in front of it) would draw the birds out from every direction! We would hear the flap of wings and suddenly they would appear on the ledge, first one, then two, then five, then seven. It’s as if they were watching the window all this time. I feel a pang of sadness to see them like this - all excited and hopeful but it'll be a let down in the end. After all Dad had been a consistent food provider and the bird brains still cannot get around the fact that the food supply has been cut. It’s kind of cruel, if you think about it, to get them used to easy food, and then stop.

But it has to be done.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

For the Love of Potatoes!

Who knew boiling potatoes can be so complicated?

Russet potatoes were on sale in the super mart. I bought five. I was getting ready to cook one when my mother asked, “How do you intend to cook it?” I guess I would boil it in its jacket. “Leaving it unpeeled is silly,” Mom scoffed. “Are you going to eat the skin too?!” 

A few days later I decided to cook the remaining four potatoes. Remembering what Mom's remark about their spud brother, I embarked on the process of removing the jackets from each. “How do you intend to cook them?” Yes, Mom was breathing down my neck again. I think I would boil them. “Then you shouldn’t peel them,” said Mom. “It would be much easier to remove their jackets once they’re cooked. Sometimes you’re so stupid.” 

"Oh for the love of potatoes, leave me alone already!"  I wanted so tell her but arguing with a 83-year old would be bad for my karma.

We have a love-hate relationship, my Mom and I.  Some people don't appreciate the way I blog about these regular squabbles.  "Stop complaining about your mother," they would chide.  "One day you will grow old too!"  Perhaps my friend Serena understands me most. She once told me, “I made a pact with my sister that when we grow old and I should turn out like our mother, she is to shoot me!”

“Would you like her to shoot you too?”

Another day in TTSH


This was where Dad spent the night yesterday.  It's kind of an observation ward where they evaluate not just the patient's condition but also (especially for the elderly) whether he is sufficiently capable of looking after his own day-to-day needs after being discharged.


All visitors get to wear a yellow paper bracelet.

Everyone who knows my father is aware that he can be such a tyrant at home.  He is the King of the household, the Tiger who rules us with an iron fist.  Due to the shock of the fall, however, and having to spend two full days in bed, amongst strangers, manipulated by hospital staff, he turned into a meek kitten.

Naturally he purred with delight to see Mom and I this morning!  We brought him his favourite black coffee.  He was high spirits and informed us that he saw a cat inside the ward last night.  Ws the cat wearing a yellow paper bracelet?  Dad was sure it wasn't, but he was certain the cat is a black and white one.  Of course Mom and I don't believe a word of it.  Out of curiosity (I forgot that was what killed the cat in the first place) I seek out the hospital staff and they all said "No cat".

It was another long and tedious day.  We were at the hospital just after 10AM and were informed that we have to wait for the neurologist, and physiotherapist to give the nod of approval before Dad can be discharged.  It was 4:30PM when the discharge papers were finally ready.

There are two follow-up appointments to keep at the hospital, but for now I'm just glad to have Dad home.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What if God was one of us? (2)

Poor old dad, he took quite a tumble today.


It happened just after he and Mom had their lunch.  They were on their way home when he fell.  He didn't know how it happened, he said repeatedly.  Needless to say, Mom was in a state of panic.  Fortunately, three good Samaritans - Daniel, Jaime and Mark -  descended out of nowhere and lent a helping hand.

According to Mom, Dad could barely walk and Mark picked him on his back and piggy backed him all the way the nearest clinic.  Daniel and Jaime was kind enough to hang around until I arrived.  Dad was referred by the doctor to the A&E at TTSH.  I was still in a daze (partly from the flu medication I had been taking; partly from the huff & puff from Newton to Toa Payoh) because I couldn't even call a cab properly (the Executive Assistant of the President of Asia Pacific didn't know how to call a cab, imagine that!) so Jaime called one for us.  

I couldn't thank Daniel and Jaime enough but Jaime said they were on their way to have ice cream, normally they would park by the road but today Jaime thought they ought to drive into the car park (where Dad fell) so maybe it was meant to be.

On my way home from the hospital tonight I was still thinking about Daniel and Jaime and about what she said. When this is all over, I thought to myself, I shall thank them properly - over ice cream.  Just before I reached home two boys (probably 8 and 10 year olds) approached and asked if I would help with their school fees.  What were they selling?  Ice cream.  Is this another one of your jokes, God?

The ice cream were $12 a box.  I opened my purse and there were exactly $12 in notes lying inside.  So maybe it was meant to be.

There were hundreds of patients at the A&E today.  We waited several hours with Dad to get his X-ray and CT scan done.  And then it was another few hours' of waiting to get him admitted.  After that another couple of hours to get him settled into the hospital bed and made sure he had something to eat.  We get to speak to the doctor tomorrow at around 10:30AM.  It was a long day but I don't think my life is half bad, really.  Thanks to an understanding boss, the sweetest coworkers, and of course - three perfect strangers who offered their assistance unconditionally.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hmmm ...

S. and I were co-workers about 15 years ago. As executive assistants in the same team, we had desks next to each other and swiftly became friends. We didn't keep in touch after we both resigned from the company. Years later, we bumped into each other once more and we had a lunch together. Again we didn't stay connected. 

Yesterday I saw S. in Food Republic at Somerset 313. Actually, she saw me first and waved.

S. now helps a friend manage a couple of restaurants. It's hard work. “I should like to return to secretary work if I get the chance,” she told me. “If you know of anyone looking for a secretary, let me know.” She repeated the statement twice so I knew she must be serious.

“Sure thing ..." I assured her, and paused as I thought this would be time for her to whip out her phone and ask for my mobile number. (After all, how was I going to reach her should a job opportunity come up?) She didn't, so I asked for hers instead. I punched in the digits into my own phone as she rattled them out. 

As soon as I had hit the CALL button, S. said, “The best way to reach me would be to send me a text message. Don't call." Then she noticed the miss call on her phone. “Did you give me a miss call?” she demanded. “What did I just tell you?!” 

“So you know it’s me when I do call,” I explained (as if I owe it to her to do so). 

“Let me save your number,” said S. 

And then she said, “But I’ve forgotten your name.” 

What the .... ?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Well said!

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
 
- Meryl Streep
 
My sentiments exactly!