Monday, July 21, 2008

Quiet days

KH is out of the country for the rest of the week, returning only on Friday - his birthday! I think I shall ta-pao chilli crabs for dinner for the occasion. And maybe throw in some XO durians too. That should be a prezzie he would be happy to get.

After so many years together, honestly, I have long run out of birthday and Christmas and anniversary gift options for him. Add the fact that he is one fussy dresser (read sloppy and particular in his tastes), the fact that he eschews all gadgets (one of the rare men I know who does not hanker for his toys) and the fact that I am dead broke - most of the time, its no wonder that many Christmases, anniversaries and b-days have gone past without a gift from me.

With KH out of town, Gillian will be staying with my mom for the next few days - shorter walk to the bus-stop in the mornings. So the house will be quieter than usual. Trin will be missing her gadgets - the handphone and the MP3 player.

Had a quiet Sunday yesterday too which saw me wielding a needle and thread and sewing not one, but TWO soft toys for Cait and Owain. It was not difficult but a needle and thread are really not my favourite things in life. In fact, after struggling with that darn green checked ugly apron, plus blue floral night dress and yellow A-line skirt we had to do in Home Econs in sec sch, I really swore off all things that had to do with needle/thread/sewing machines. The best I could do was to fix a button, but even these days that is rare. So I surprised myself yesterday by sewing the toys for the kids. There is hope yet for me to turn domestic goddess.

So we were home on a Sunday afternoon, lunch-less by choice (though Gillian was moaning about getting some food into her tummy before she died of parent-imposed starvation), each of us doing our own small thing.

Cait was busy watching the new neighbours move in, giving us blow-by-blow accounts - "They're parking their car in the driveway now... ooh they are bringing in boxes from Ikea... hey they have two older boys and a little girl!... now they're sitting on their new sofa..."

Owain and Trin were busy on the computer playing Diner Dash. Once in a while we would hear a yell of despair from the study: "No, no, NO Trin! Don't delete the... aaaargghhh!"

Isaac was snowed under piles of homework from school and extra stuff that we, his unsympathetic parents, shoved on him. From time to time he would emerge hopefully, blinking in the sunlight. And we would promptly send him back to his dark cave to "Finish your work Isaac!" He will not see daylight until the PSLE is over. I have already told him that if he does not get into SJI, I will not speak to him for a year.

KH wandered round the house like a caged tiger, unused to spending so much time at home on a weekend. I finally put him out of his misery at 5pm by going out for an early wanton mee dinner.

Engs at Dunman as usual, had great tongue-numbing chilli wanton mee. Then it was a drive to Telok Blangah Hill Park for an evening walk with about 50,000 other Singaporean families and their dogs.

At the foot of the hill, there seemed to be some traffic obstruction. We stopped behind a car which was flanked by a traffic policeman in civvies. A man stepped out the car in front of us. From the way he looked, carrying a briefcase, I told KH: That man is a security officer. There must be some VIP minister in the vicinity.

Before the words left my mouth, another man stepped out - this one wearing the distinctive telephone-wire ear-piece that secret service agents love to wear in the movies - apparently they also wear them in real life! And then, stepping out of a champagne-coloured Lexus in front of us, were two other officers and Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our Minister Mentor.

Wow - celebrity alert!!

I got excited of course - along with the other joggers and families standing around. Jaws dropped, handphones were whipped out and flashes of light blinked. Mr Lee, surrounded by four SOs, walked a bit haltingly and slowly, but steadily past our car. He wore a crisp white short-sleeved shirt, cream long pants. He was tall and looked well (although the word that keeps coming to mind is, strangely enough... "fluffy"... must be due to the white hair and eyebrows!) and certainly larger than life.

He put up a hand in acknowledgement as he neared our car. And KH says: Let the record show - he waved first THEN we waved! Then the entourage disappeared up the hilly path of the park and we were waved on. By the time we reached the same area where we saw him, he was gone.

And that was my first - and probably my last - glimpse of the man who made Singapore the way it is today. The good and the bad in economic, social and political engineering. Like it or love it, warts and all, Singapore is what it is and the people who they are - largely because of his foresight and derring-do. I think I, like many other Singaporeans, have a great deal of awe and respect for him, and even, dare I say it, affection - love or loathing for the policies of the govt aside. The man is a living icon in his own right and some national pride in me recognises that, no matter how I grouse about the nitty-gritty.

After that we walked the Telok Blangah nature walk - the new trail - all the way to Preston Road and back. Nice exercise and fresh air. And my sweet Owain-boy said, when I saw he was tired and offered to carry him: "No thanks mum. It will be hard for you."

Hard to do what?

"Hard to carry me and walk. You will be too tired."

See? Moments like this tell you why I love this boy so deeply.

The evening finished with a nice ice-cream at Estivo Gelataria at Greenwood - which Owain gave two thumbs-up.

These quiet happy days just come and go. And while I may not remember the details of such a day - nothing really outstanding happened - I think I will carry the feeling of well-being for a while more.

1 comment:

makeupmag said...

I have already told him that if he does not get into SJI, I will not speak to him for a year.

I giggled at that comment! :D

I hope you've been well, Pat. Any news on the protein thingy?