Mar 30, 2010

Love Is... Part 9

side tracked: Doctor says my health is perfect. Or so until I see him again in 6 months time. Thanks to all who prayed for me. God Bless you.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I found out that my womb cannot carry the baby to full term. The doctor told me I needed bed rest for the initial weeks. But I had just started out in a new job and my boss wasn't too understanding. So I went to work as per normal. The weeks that followed, I became very sick. I was Haemorrhaging for weeks. The doctor had to prescribed iron pills, calcium pills and double dosage of all vitamins for me. It was a difficult pregnancy for me. I suffered alot with her(my first born).

Natasha was born by c-section, at 38 weeks. Although not very 'premature', the doctor had to expedite the birth because my blood prressure shot up very high. According to him, I could have died from it.

When I came out of GA(general anesthesia), Benny sat next to my bed. I was still drowsy from the GA and I couldn't talk. He told me the baby is fine and said "You did a great job, she's beautiful"

I wanted to see her and ask for her. Benny went out to to ask the nurse to wheel in baby Natasha. Though I couldn't get up and was still in a dreamy state, I told Benny that he promised me when Natasha was born, we are to dedicate her to God.

So we did..with baby Natasha in my arms, and with Benny by my side, we gave Thanks to God. For a safe delivery and my recovery. And we told God in unison, in one voice :

"Thank you God for giving us this baby. May she be a testimony of Your undying love for us, Your Grace over all and everything. We, as her earthly parents, return her to You. May her life ahead be Your testimony to everyone. And whatever she do, she brings Glory to Your name! In Jesus Name, we pray, AMEN!"

Natasha was born with a spliting image of Benny. In every facade, even till today, she looks like Benny. Benny adores her and loves her very much. He was a wonderful father. He helps me to feed her, change her soiled nappies when I needed my beauty sleep at night. He never grumble or complain when its his turn to watch over her.

And he takes leave from work to spend with her. He would take her to the beach just to collect sea shells. Then would drive her all over Singapore just to find the best Waffles with vanilla ice cream for her. He would bathe her, clean up her, and tucked her in for afternoon naps. And waited for me to come home from work. And allowed her to tell me her story of how the day started and ended.

Every night before bedtime, he would read her a book. And it was always Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. When she was a little older, Benny used to tease her a fair bit and make her laugh and cry at the same time.

When Natasha started Kindergarten, Benny drives her to school every day. And he would bring her to have breakfast at a coffee shop near her school. Its always 2 soft boiled eggs and a hot milo drink. Simple..but very endearing moments.

When I wanted to have a second child so that Natasha won't be alone, Benny won't agree to it. I had to quarrel with him for a period of several months over this. Until he broke his silence and told me why he didn't want another child:

"I am afraid of losing you. You almost died having Natasha. We have one child, made by both of us. That's good enough. Sure I want to have many more with you, but the doctor said your body cannot take it. I rather be a father of one then to think that you will not be here with me"

So I told him that since we both loved children and we believe in God, we should put the matter with God. Let Him decide if I should or can have another child.

If you know I had 2 daughters, you already know the answer to that.

But Melody didn't come to me easily either. I had more problems conceiving her than with Natasha. Melody was also born prematured and also by c-section. She was born much earlier. At 33.5 weeks. Instead of the 40 weeks. Doctors feared that she may have under-developed organs in her and a blood disorder that she may need to go for blood transfusion soon after birth.

But if you believed in God and put your faith in Him alone, all these will just fade away. And it did. So as with Natasha, and now also with Melody, Benny and I dedicated her to God again. The same prayer but said in unison.

We fought over having her and in between, I had serious Haemorrhaging that I needed my body to recover, so between the girls, their age gap widens. Natasha is 20 years old this year, and Melody is 12 years old.

Looking back, we enjoyed parenting them when they were babies and growing up as the years past. Benny did the same things with Melody as he did with Natasha. However, Melody was closer to me and bonds better.

In all their growing up years, Benny and I have numerous mini quarrels. And its often about the different opinions on how we should raise them. We never knew how best to be a parent. But we know what we didn't want..things that our parents raised us that we didn't like. We don't repeat with ours.

People who knew us think our girls are perfect little angels. Quiet, well mannered and a respect for the elderly. Often I told them, a reflection of us and what or how we are as kids too.

Being me, its not the easiest thing or job to be in. It takes alot of patience and love. Much much more when you are in love with your better half. Our love for each other was really pushed into so many tight corners.

Here's a photo of Benny eating Burgers with Melody. Something he hated. He hates fast food. But for his girls, he would do anything for them just to make them feel he's one of them.

Even when Melody was 4 years old, Benny still adores her and would find all excuses to carry her like a baby. Like he would when Natasha was years ago.

Every night when he drives me home after the shop closes, he talks fondly of them when they are kids. I know how much he wanted to have many many children. But I couldn't give him more. And even then, he always assures me, two is enough. Because I am still the one and only one he really needs.

End of Part 9...

Mar 29, 2010

Love Is... Part 8

I woke up really early today. I had to leave the house by 9:00am as my appointment is at 10am. And though I said I may not be able to write today, I think I really should.

How often do you have a virtual friend who turns into a real friend and who in turn comes back to read your blog daily and give you encouragement for the day?

This song is dedicated to Tony. Thanks really is a beautiful song. I am not so crazy about John Denver because he sang most of the country westerns. Although there were a few here and there. But I found a better version of this song at youtube.

I remembered when I was working for Jardine Fleming some years back, my colleague and also Director, Bob.Z used to drag us out for food and wine. Mostly we felt he wanted to drink during office hours and needed an excuse for it. We had a good month that year, so again Bob.Z took the whole department out for good Italian food and wine. While everyone was slightly tipsy, Bob.Z played a game with us.

He said "I want everyone to play. You are not allowed to excuse yourself. Here's how it goes:

If you have the chance to start your life all over again, what would you do or choose to be and why?

Knowing him, he's probably drunk by now. So he started the ball rolling by answering first:

"I want to come back as a woman. Why? Because I want to know what it is like when my husband have S** with me. All the oohs..and and the ahhhs"

I remembered that there are 10 of us at the table. While many joked and laughed about it. Many are serious enough and gave much thought to what they think they wanted to do. When the turn comes to me, without a shadow of doubt I said this:

"I want to come back as myself. As me. With all my insecurities and all that is with me now. Why? If I have lived my life now and passed on. And when I come back as myself, I hope to meet Benny sooner. And marry him all over again."

And Bob.Z said "Well, he may not want to come back as himself, so you may not find him!" But because he was drunk and he's my boss...I just starred at him and laughed it out.

But it causes me to wonder and to think. Then I turn to God and ask why He made me go through pain and meeting so many people just to come to Benny finally. Then God showed me that if I have never met these people then I would never appreciate what I have now. And that I will never learn to be someone special for Benny.

So take heart..for every pain and tribulations you have gone through and still going through now. It has to come to an end eventually. If I have never lived the life I had as a child, as an adult, then I wouldn't have understood how fragile life is. How vulnerable love is. And when I thought about this, I remembered one time that Benny said to me:

"If only we have met earlier,we would be in love for a longer time. And l waited so long for someone like you to come along."

When I gave much thought again to what he said, I realised that God planned that I should meet Benny much later. Because the work I used to do and the work he was doing back then, there WERE many occasions we could have met. I was in computing. He was in Retailing too. But he was in the operations. In my work, I had to visit retail stores that were using the same kind of computers and equipment. Including our competitors. At the level of learn because I was still under-studying. I had to make an appointment with the Operations managers to visit the store..I would have met Benny back then. Before I met Sidney.

And it was not in the scheme of things nor God's final plan that I was to meet him in such situations. Both of us have to go through life's insecurities to come to know what to expect and what to hope for in the end.

So I end this post today with the song by John Denver, "Perhaps Love". Here's the lyrics :

(Placido Domingo)
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

(John Denver)
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

(Placido Domingo)
Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel

(John Denver)
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go

(John Denver)
And some say love is everything
Some say they don't know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Mar 28, 2010

Love Is... Part 7

I needed to write this today. Because I have to go for my medical checkup tomorrow at the hospital. I would be too 'caught up' and I cannot gather myself to write this.

I wanted to write more in Part 6, but figures its too long for one long read. So here it is...

If anyone has told you they loved someone so deeply that the days seemed to end in a second, well, believe in it. Our days together seems to flash by in an instant.

Benny and I dated for a while, like 3 months. And to many, it was brief. Because we swore to marry soon after. We didn't care if others thought otherwise. We knew for sure what we wanted. Its us..for each other. But being him, he wanted to give me the best wedding and to go to places I wanted to go. In many ways, I was still like a child at heart. I wanted to go to Disneyland. But we couldn't afford it because we didn't have that much in savings. So the next 2 years were spent working night jobs. I taught at NPB(then was called The National Productivity Board) on certification courses on Desktop Publishing and Graphic Arts. It meant that we saw each other less. Because I had to work. And every cent I made out of teaching, I set it aside for our wedding day.

Benny took out consultancy work to earn that extra cash. Its all about the may think. After a while, it took a toll on us. I missed seeing him on days I had to teach. And he missed hearing my voice when he had to work. Our week days rush in and out in a flash. He found time to wait for me outside NPB Building after each class. And he would take me home and made sure I reached home safely.

With endless hours I had to work by day and rushing to teach by night and finding time to make up for lost time with him, it made me very sick. I fainted at home and was sent to the hospital. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days I think. Benny visited me at the hospital. And it was the first time I saw how much it hurt him to see me like this.

Then he wouldn't allowed me to teach anymore. So I taught for a year or so. And when NPB gave me a new contract to start a new semester with them, I had to turn them down.

Benny took it upon himself that he has to make sure I am safe and happy. He ate simply. Drunk only water. While he still brings me out to eat well. He would buy for me my favourite yogurt from Yammie Yogurt while he often lied saying he doesn't like sour stuff.

We met in July 1986, we married in November 1988. Our wedding wasn't the highlight of events. We didn't have elaborate dinner banquet in 5 star hotels. My aunt run her own wedding boutique so her gifts for us was the wedding gown I wore. Just two weeks before our wedding, Benny surprised me with tickets to USA. We had planned to go to Genting Highlands or Sentosa..after all, as long as we are together.

I was always trying to save money for him. I wanted to save the extras for our new home. But he said insisted otherwise. So, after our wedding night, we went to USA. We went to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, some town outside LA where the bus took us to. Wherever we went, he spent like royalty. Splurging on everything I wanted or eyed at. He bought everything I wanted and he bought nothing for himself. So I bought him sweaters and things for him using his money!

When we got our first home, a HDB masionette in the north east of Singapore, we spend 6 months saving up to renovate the place. So we stayed with my mom. Every day, life was routine. We get up for work, and said that very long phrase to each other before we leave for work each day.

When we came back, we washed up, had our dinners and watched TV dramas. But most of the time, he will be playing computer games because he didn't like soapy dramas and don't want to fight over TV channels with me. He always let me have my way. In many ways, Benny spoilt me too. Just like my parents did.

When we finally moved into our own was empty, dark and quiet. It was just me and him..alone in the house. He didn't allow me to keep my late nights at work. So in turn, he took it out upon himself and work late nights. But it meant that I was home alone all the time. And he knows how much I loved having pets..he bought a puppy to keep me company.

This is Fable, our male shetland sheepdog..This photo was taken when Fable was 2 years old.

I remembered our first wedding anniversary. I can't cook a decent meal and I didn't want him to bring me to any expensive places to eat. The best I could do back then was Maggi noodles and 1 egg in it. I almost felt like crying. I thought I was such a failure. But Benny felt otherwise. He bought 2 candles, lit it in those old romantic familiar setting we see in movies. And bought sparkling juice to resemble Champagne. We had maggi noodles and sparkling juice in our first home. In our first wedding anniversary.

But I wasn't happy because I dreamt of romantic candle lit dinners with fine food. But I couldn't cook at all. I couldn't cook anything nice for him. Then Benny told me :

"From today on, we will NEVER have our Wedding anniversary celebrated. But instead, we should celebrated it every day. In the things we do for each other. And be reminded always how much we loved and cared for each other. That was important. Not dinners or fancy gifts."

So till today, we kept true to that promise he made. We never celebrate our anniversaries. Never anything I bought for him or he buys for me that special day. But every day, we showered each other with gifts shown in the things we do for each other.

We survived 21 years of wedded bliss. There were days we quarrelled and fought over petty things. But we make up soon enough.

Like for tomorrow, the doctor's visit meant that I needed money to go for blood tests, urine tests, etc. I told him about my doctor's appointment and he wrote me a check for it. He never ask me how much it would costs. He just fill up the numbers and wrote a check for me.

Its the things he does for me. That's love unconditionally, shown every day.

End of Part 7..I hope to write by mid next week..

Stay tune...

Love Is... Part 6

Before meeting me, Benny had someone too. A girl he met at work. Not really office romance. But a friend of his staff, met during an office party. They dated a fair bit. Something that Benny never like to tell me about. It was difficult to make him tell me. I wanted to know..everything. Like I would tell him about Sidney.

But to Benny, that's history, past. It mattered no more now. He has ME now. That was all that matters now. Guess that is why its often said and heard that Men are from Mars and Women came from Venus.

But in his own words, he said that he often thought his ex was what Love is all about. But he was a jealous monster all the time. His ex girlfriend was always in the limelight of advertising for media. I won't relate much what she used to do. Just like I won't say online what Sidney used to do for a living. Other than the fact he became a full time missionary later on.

His ex would provoke him all the time, pushed him to the limits. While they dated, she would 2 timed him and dated other guys. And tell him she loved only him but she needed space to be with her friends who loved the work she does. Benny was a quiet man. He never expected much and only ask that she respected their love and be there for him only.

The final straw came when his friends told him they saw her with someone else, not just going out. But holding hands, in that intimacy that lovers should be.

He said it ended very quickly. At least in his eyes.. 6 months that's it. After that, he stopped dating anyone. There were other women who came into his life and walk out without leaving a trace. Some women he dated, never left any impression. Although there was one lady, whom he liked. But they never had the chance to progress further because she moved house and lost contact when he was busy building his career in retailing. He kept late nights, work hard to climb that all too familiar corporate ladder we all know of.

Then he lost her...due to his work. His late nights. He couldn't see her as often as he could. She left him.

And then when he met me, he said his head was spinning all the time. He missed me soon after we parted after a group date. And his heart hurts when he send me home and walked home from Kallang Bahru to St George's Road where he stayed. Even just to hear me, was enough for him.

Then he knew what Love really meant to be. All the past were just phrases in his life. It was meant to be only when he met me. A rush of adrenaline came whenever he was to meet me. He said he never had that kind of feeling before. Never with any of the girls he used to date.

You know..I didn't feel the same when I met him. It took me a while to know to realise that I have fallen in love with him. I blamed this all on Sidney. I couldn't heal as well as I thought I could. I guess men are made very differently. They could just snapped out of it. Whereas, we are such love-sick fools. But then I need to be sure. I need to know its love I had for him. Not a surrogate or a new punching bag for my pain.

Sometimes I wonder if Love continues after marriage. I remembered a friend told me that love is beautiful, as long as you are not married. Once you marry him, the flame dies after a while. It really frightens me. This friend is married and had a child. She told me that her love life has not been easy. Raising kids, tending to the house, etc etc..taken a toll on their relationship.

I hate to think of the consequences of ours in time to come. So I told Benny. I told him my fears. I don't want this to end. We must make sure we stay like this..dreamy state of lovingness for as long as we breathe.

So we started a pact with each other. That we tell each other how much we loved and adored each other every day. And Benny wasn't that lovey-dovey sort of guy. He wasn't the romantic sort. But more of a man of action. He expresses through the things he do. And that was what I loved him most for. In his quiet and subtle way, his love showed and poured out in buckets.

He popped the question one day. It wasn't a clear day or a rainy day. It wasn't a special day. Just another day we had spent together. In a casual way. That was no roses or ring. No bending on knees and no show of stars that night.

He just said "You marry me, can?" And I replied "ok lor..can. " And yes, in Singlish all the way!

That was almost 3 months after we met. Benny never told his family about us. Until that day. But his family guessed he was upto something. He goes to 'work' in Palmer shirts instead of his long sleeves shirt on Sunday. He comes home every night, washed up and ring someone and never talked. Just sit there and listen and listen and listen. So they wondered who he was listening to.

After I told him "ok", he brought me to meet his family. And soon, he brought me out to meet all his friends. And wherever we went, he told people that I was his wife. He stopped calling me "Gina". But called me "My wife". And I know I didn't bring him anywhere to meet anyone. Except my family of course.

And I also wanted him to meet Siew K. Siew K was my ex colleague and my mentor for years. I looked up to her alot. She was my superior in my old job. Of work, I turn to her. Of love, I go to her too. For reassurance. So when I finally said Yes to Benny, Siew K was the only friend I had, that I must introduce them together.

I remembered that day so clearly. Benny booked a table at a restaurant at Cairnhill Hotel. I took that opportunity to share photos with Siew K of our Malacca trip. And given the chance for Siew K to 'survey' my new love. After a sumptous lunch, Siew K said "Gina, I need to go to the wash room..and come with me"

The usuals..we women do, just to gossip. Always have to be inside the wash room!

Siew K said to me, and I will always remembered this :

"Gina, he loves you alot. I can see that. I am very happy for you. You followed your heart. So when are you inviting me to your wedding dinner?"

After lunch, we parted and I told Benny what Siew K said to me. And Benny smiled. And he said "Of course and always!"

I was also a workaholic like Benny. So when I met him, I was worried that he couldn't accept that part of me. Only to find out later, he was like me too. Another workaholic. So he understood why I had to work and be away from him for some time. So we mapped out our days to see each other and yet find time to do our daily work without offending our bosses.

I suggested that we took to buses as public transport instead of the taxi. He didn't want me to take buses. Because he thinks its not as comfortable as a ride in a taxi..with it fully aircon and comfortable sofa seats. So I had find an excuse like

"oh..but it meant our journey home will be longer..and gives us more time to be with each other. A taxi meant that I go home in 15 mins, our day has ended. A bus trip is 30 mins or 45 mins."

Even when we dated, Benny never allowed me to feel short changed, he paid for everything. Food, movies, rides on the buses or even on taxi. If I had to go shopping with my friends, he would give me the money for it.

And I told him all the shortcomings about myself. That I was spoilt silly by my mom. I can't COOK or BAKE or IRon my own clothes. I don't know how to cook Maggi noodles or boil water. I am hopeless. And he said "Never mind, I can always learn. If not, we can always eat out or eat our parent's place"

You know, they say that Love Changes things..I know it changes me.

What you see of me today now..the cook, the baker is because of the love I have for Benny. All the moments of my life with him in it. What I am today is a result of the love he had for me. That was the least I could do for him. Because he loved to eat..not just food. But food cooked by the one he loves. Although I told him I can't cook, he insisted that it doesn't matter.

End of Part 6...

Mar 27, 2010

Love is... Part 5

I used to have a diary which I would write my thoughts for the day. I don't write everyday. Only moments or things that catches my eye or my attention. So in it, I penned down my thoughts. The diary kept the log of my days after Sidney, my days when Benny and I met. And it ended when I finally said "I Love You". I lost that diary when we moved. All was left were just memories of past hurts, and happiness.

So writing this now in my blog was essential and important. For as long as I still remember the finer details, I should write about it. Thus, my many parts of this "Love Is..." came about.

When I found out how he felt about me, we met more often. Like every 2 days or so. And he would ring me every day. Until I had to stop him. Because I was working and my boss would think I am not..! So I limit him to 2x a day. Once in the morning and another around tea break at the office. Like clock-work, he would ring me at the start of the day, before I leave for work. And later in the office around 4pm, he would ring me again. Nothing much to talk about. Its often just for him to hear me say "Hi or Hello". And he would ask how was my day. So I had to tell him in 2 to 3 sentences.

Its a nice feeling. When you are in love. Someone who looks forward to see you and to hear from you. If I had to go out the whole day, I would tell him my schedules. Because it meant that he could not hear from me. As mobile phones back then wasn't popular.

All my colleagues at the office knew about my new love life. Often, I get teased at. Because Benny sounded like a love-sick puppy. And I was more embarassed and often shy away from all the attention which he showed openly.

Soon after I met Benny, a month later, we moved house. From my mom's old place near Kallang Bahru(yes, my KC store is at Kallang Bahru too..) to Jalan Kayu. We had a small pet dog named Jimmy..a Pomeranian.

Jimmy was an old dog and he didn't quite figure out new houses. So he got out and was missing. So when Benny rang me the next morning, I was in tears. I told him "Jimmy's gone..!" He tried to console me and said maybe he will come back. But my mom rang me to say no one return Jimmy and Jimmy never came home.

That day wasn't a day for us to meet..but I ran off to see Benny. I cried. Because Jimmy was my very first pet dog. The one I took out my savings to buy, with my sister's savings too. Jimmy was special to me.

Benny didn't know how to react at that point of time. All of a sudden, he grabbed me..and hugged me tightly in his arms. And told me that he will be here for me if I needed to cry or needed someone to listen...just to listen. And that was like...

gosh..! In the busy road along Orchard dusk..when the sun was almost going to set. Where people are still rushing in and out of down town Singapore.

I was speechless.. I didn't know what to do, how to react. . For a moment or two, I stood motionless, in his arms. Enjoying the warmth and tenderness I longed for a long time. Then I spoke up..saying I had to go home.. to go out and look for Jimmy.

As we parted, Benny took me to the taxi stand and he hailed a taxi to take me home. He gave me money for the ride and said he will ring me tonight to check on me.

And when he did, all he could hear was my pain. And it was the first time he felt my pain. 2 days past, Jimmy was still missing. Then on the 3rd day, a lady came to return Jimmy. My mom rang me at the office to tell me the good news. And all I could think of at that moment was Benny.

I rang him and even took half a day's leave like super urgent, I told my boss. Finding all sorts of excuses to give her so she let me off. I went to see Benny. I took a bus there, the journey wasn't long but it took a while to reach. And I started to wonder, why on earth would I take half a day off to see Benny when I should be rushing home to cuddle Jimmy instead? After all, these 3 days were spent crying for my lost pet??

Being boss, Benny could just walk out of the office. He took me to the cafe at Dynasty Hotel(now Marriot Hotel). So there I was, I told him about Jimmy again. He was happy for me. Smiling cheek to cheek, so to say.

Then I changed my tone...I became quiet suddenly. He noticed that. And ask me what happened. It was then I told him about my feelings:

"Benny, you are the only person whom I shared my inner fears. When Sidney was around, he could never understand what I had to go through. If I had tears for someone or something, he would instruct me like my mom would. And ask me to be like an adult and move on with life.

With you, I can be totally myself. I can be happy or sad, angry or upset. You never make me feel any worse. But instead, you are always here for me. You don't tell me what to do. You give me space and gave me time to think. Time to reflect and time to heal. And if I didn't, you never imposed on me how I should do it. But instead, your subtleness is like a light at the end of the tunnel..guiding me the right path to take.

I now know what I missed out in life. You. If God had send me angels, He sent me one today and I think He also sent the only one that would last me a lifetime.

You are all I ever need and will need. No more, no less. With that said, yes, you can now rewrite your devotion to me. There shouldn't be a Question mark at the end of your "I Love You". And yes, I Love You, today, tomorrow and every moment, every minute and with each breath you take, I will always love you."

*** This phrase of "I Love You, today, tomorrow and every moment, every minute and with each breath you take, I will always love you." became our way of life. We tell each other every day before the day starts and every night before bedtime.

While many would just say "Honey, I Love You"..we had to say the whole sentence, over and over again.

I have left out many mushy bits and pieces..but this one phrase I wanted to share was because it made us what we are today. This November 2010, we will be 22 years happily married. But I have loved him and he loved me for 24 years.

End of Part 5.

Mar 26, 2010

Love Is... Part 4

I used to believe that quote or saying that goes like this:

"When you love someone, let him go. If he comes back to you, its yours to keep.
If he doesn't, he was never meant to be"

Soon after I 'quit' on Sidney, a part of me was remorseful. After all, there were some good times we shared. So I waited for him. Hoping that he would turn around and come back to me. But he didn't. He never came back.

I spent 6 to 8 months in silence. Being resentful of all things about him. I threw away all the things he used to give me. Although I kept his photos of us together. Taken on my 21st Birthday party. Because that was a memory of birthdays past. Only 1 photo of us together.

When I met Benny, I wasn't looking for love. I treated Benny as a casual friend. To meet, have fun, eat, drink and be happy. However, Benny was looking for his Miss Right. When he first set eyes on me, he knew I was the one for him. I found out about this through Suzie. Because he would tell Suzie that he liked me alot. And wanted her to arrange for us to meet again. Suzie tried to tell me. But I was numb. I wasn't really paying attention.

We a group. With me and Benny, with Suzie and her boyfriend. A few dates..almost every week. Then I suggested single dates..just Benny and we can get to know each other better. Actually, I just wanted to help him save money. He was paying for everyone's meals and drinks at the lounge.

In the month I met Benny, I had planned earlier to go on a short holiday trip to Malacca with my ex colleague from my ex-job. It was my first maiden trip to anywhere. My mom never allowed me to go anywhere alone. So I really wanted to do this. When Benny came along, I cannot say no, not to go. So he ask if I could cancel this trip. Because he said he will miss me when I out of Singapore.

I told him, I already paid in full for this trip. And its only for like 3 days and 4 nights. Its not like I am gone forever! He doesn't look very happy when I said that. Still, he quietly let me go. I packed my bags, just 1 big bag and I had to go to town to wait for the private bus which will come and fetch me for the long journey.

Benny, as I could remember and sensed.. was most unhappy that night. He put some money in my hands and told me to have a good time. I told him I had money to spend. I saved up for some time for this trip. But he insisted. Those days, there was no handphone, just a pager. No emails or Facebook or Blogging. No digital cameras or MMS. So letting me go was really not to be able to hear from me or see me.

On the bus, I sat to think ... Benny sounded like a caring person. He was nice to me all these time. Could he be the one? But then, Sidney was like that in the initial period too. So I left my present memories in Singapore..and off to Malacca I headed.

It was during this trip to Malacca I found the answer. There, I was eating, sight-seeing, going places, shopping with friends. Going to the beach. Doing all the fun things with friends and all sorts. Yet, something was missing. Something wasn't quite right. I couldn't put a finger to it. What was it.

My good friend Siew K ask me what seems to be bothering me. I should be having a good time, but I look like I wasn't. So I told her I met Benny and dumped Sidney. Siew K knew Sidney and met him on several occasions. But Siew K told me :

"Follow your heart. Where it aches for someone you don't like, let it go. Where it aches for someone you like, you find him. He's for keeps"

Like a two edged sword, these words followed me home, from Malacca to Singapore. I was due to return to Singapore late into the night..but the Causeway and customs were less busy. So the private bus took us back to where the journey started and I got off at heart of Orchard Road. I make my way to see Benny..instead of going home with my heavy bags.

I had to follow my heart, like Siew K said I should.

When I came nearer to his workplace, I stood afar to peek at him. I saw a sad man. Working like a headless chicken. With his colleague Kevin(Suzie's boyfriend) telling what to do and how to do it. Benny was Kevin's boss! Then I walk into the store and pretended not to see Benny. And I talked to Kevin instead. We were laughing and giggling over my stories of Malacca..yet at the corner of my eyes, I was also looking at Benny.

He stood awe ! Just smiling, just staring, just listening.

Later, I had to go to the photo studio to develop all the rolls of negatives and with time to spare, Benny took me to Dynasty Hotel(now known as Marriot Hotel) for tea. And again, I was talking about my trip to Malacca, how it was. When the photos were developed, we sat in the tea house and I was showing him all the places I went.

It was then he wanted one of the photos of me..alone. Where I stood outside a Malay village. He said he wanted to keep that.

This was the photo he took from my album. I got it back when we got married.

And it was then he told me how much he missed me. How gruelling his days were when I was away. Even though it was just 3 days and 4 nights, it seem like forever. Some days he forgot to have his meals. He buried himself in his work. Going home just to wash up, and sleep. And each time he wanted to pick up the phone to ring, he was reminded that I am away.

He told me...

"Please don't go away again. Not less I am going with you"

We are to meet the next day after my trip. Because I was still on leave from work. He planned for this day that he was to tell me how he felt about me. It was a lovely dinner we had at Singa Inn(seafood restaurant by the East Coast). Then he broke his silence and told me in 3 words and 1 exclaimation mark which I told was out of place!

He wrote on a piece of tissue paper ;

"I Love You ?"

errr...why is there a Question mark, I mused aloud.

He said :

"Because I know I love you. But I also know you have been deeply hurt by your ex boyfriend. Its not easy for you to accept another person. That ? mark meant for me to ask if you can love me or accept me."

In my first blog entry of this series of Love Is ...

I wrote :

Love is patient;
Love is kind;
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

My heart broke in many places that night. I was speechless. No one has ever made such an impact before. No one except Benny. Who could silently stand in a corner. And waited for me to heal. And waited for me to come. And when I did, he never push me. Never forcing his ways into my life.

I was taken aback by his simple gesture. I told him to give me time to think. Even with that said, Benny was beaming. He smiled and again said

"Its late, we better go. Your mom would be upset if you are home late"

End of Part 4...

Thank you all for reading my story.. and all your kind comments you have left on my blog. There is someone out there for you, if you are alone now. Believe in it. Because mine came to me in my darkest moments.

I will continue to write about how I finally give in.

Stay tuned...

Mar 24, 2010

Love is... Part 3

Suzie asked me why I left Sidney. After all, he was a good man. When I looked back, I am thankful that things turn out that way. My late granny's sudden death was like a wake up call for me. To know and to find out. I was unconsolable for days when she died in 1984. Sidney was never there for me when I needed him most.

I felt that my world fell apart when she died. My late granny was someone I adored and admired. When she died, I cried every day, every night. Every waking hour when I rested and every moment I was left on my own. There was no one I cried so much for. Only for Ah Ma. So instinctively, I look for comfort outside. Sidney said I should gather myself, and move on. I shouldn't let a death to 'kill' me. When we met, he seemed distant. We couldn't talk for long. Our dates ended in an hour. He would see me safely home, that's about it. I wanted to stay outside the house as everyone is also crying at home. He couldn't understand that. Most importantly, after knowing me for 1 year, he couldn't understand what I wanted.

But I told myself, he deserves a second chance. After all, we did love each other. So I drag on our relationship for another year. And it got worse. Our days spent together was wasted. We meet every 2 days in a week. Yet I could tell that neither one of us are looking forward to it. Our love came to a total stand still. We met because its routine. Not because we wanted to see each other. The flame has just sizzled away.

In many ways, Sidney depended on me on everything. I was his pillar of faith. The love of his life. That's according to him. But he was never mine to keep. Surely and sadly, I saw how it would hurt our relationship more if we carry on like this. So I left him ..quietly. The year he decided to join YWAM(Youth With A Misson) makes it easier for me to let go. He was a young missionary travelling to Third World countries serving God and preaching the gospel. Each time he left on a mission, I would pack his bag for him. In there would be things he loved me for. A photo of us together, my photos of the things I enjoyed doing, the Bible I bought for him. He wore only shirts I picked for him. And pants that I think matches the colour of his shirts.

It seems cruel that I should leave a man who adores me and 'worships' me like an idol. But something is lacking in my love for him. I couldn't find anything I loved him for. During the period he was away, this could be months on end. I was alone. I was hurt. Many days spend without someone. Someone whom everyone thought was the man I should marry. And suddenly out of the blue, he would ring me and tell me he's home. Not for good. That's so much uncertainty.

Its often said that it takes 2 hands to clap. In this case, I felt its that you need Two Hearts To join together. To be in unison. Not apart. But here is one heart on fire, one heart deadly cold.

I tried to reason with him, asking him to bring me along his missions. I was willing to give up everything I have here. To be by his side. But Sidney said I lived a life of comfort. I would 'die' outside in harsh weathers. He never gave me a chance to be someone different.

It was then I knew for sure..this is NOT the man for me. The day I left him, was quiet. I told Sidney why. He accepted it without much struggling. He didn't even tried to win me back.

And that cut me really deep. I was deeply hurt. I became as sad as the day Ah Ma died. Suzie became my punching bag for months. She tried very hard to make me happy. She had parties at home every other month, inviting the pilots from the Air Force she was working there. I met many pilots because of her. Too many to count. But I wasn't looking for love. I was just filling the gap of emptiness.

When I met Benny, I was still miserable and unhappy. I couldn't shake that off. I don't care how I look on the outside. I wore dresses that I liked which my mom had to scold me for. But Benny saw me from inside. A side of me that is not seen by all the other guys I used to meet.

I was treating Benny like Sidney. I met him because its routine. Because I wanted Suzie to see I am trying to fit in. Not so that I wanted to be happy. It was really miserable.

So when Benny came along, suddenly everything became to clear up. A side of me that had lay hidden, came to light. That miserable monster in me decided to go back into her cave and never be seen again. But I wasn't nice to Benny in our initial dates. In many ways, I knew I was cruel in my words to him. I would meet him on a date for dinner and leave abruptly after the main course was served and never stayed for desserts.

Yet, Benny never raised his voice at me. He waited for my day to end. Then he would ring me at home after my so called meeting/work/party with other friends. Then I would talk and talk and talk. And he would listen on the other end of the line. With the occasional, umm, ya,

He listens to all my stories. All the silly things I said. Some had no meaning. Some had. Then when its time for dinner(which we often met just to eat!), he would decide where we should go. And he always picked the finest places. He made me feel like a princess. After dinner, he would bring me to places just to watch the stars..where there are people walking. Then he would check his watch and said "Its time to go..or your mom will nag again"

All these time, I felt I was like some kind of celebrity with a loyal fan doting on me.

It was a wonderful feeling..makes me wanting more..

End of Part 3..

ps..this post today makes me sad and happy. Sad because of past hurt memories left behind by Sidney. Happy because Benny filled up all the unhappiness I had. And Happy that he leaves for work each day with a smile on his face..only for me to see!

Mar 23, 2010

Love is... Part Two

I grew up in the sixties..listening to old hits and evergreen music. One particular singer by the name of Bobby Vinton was my all time favourite. He had a song "I Love How You Love Me". I used to listen over the radio. Then when my dad bought a tape recorder with radio built into it, I waited for that song to come online again and quickly recorded it. And would listen to it over and over again.

Here's the lyrics:
I love how your eyes close
Whenever you kiss me
And when I'm away from you
I love how you miss me
I love the way your kiss is always heavenly
But darling most of all
I love how you love me

I love how your heart beats
Whenever I hold you
I love how you think of me
Without being told to
I love the way your touch is always tenderly
But darling most of all
I love how you love me

I love how your eyes close
Each time that you kiss me
And when I'm away from you
I love how you miss me
I love the way your kiss is always heavenly
But darling most of all
I love how you love me

Yah, you can call me a teenager in love with somebody out there..! But who? Who fits the bill here? I measured my past boyfriends with a yard stick based on the things they liked. To see if they like what I like or if not, can they at least accept the fact I like all these silly love songs.

Benny was in many ways someone I wanted and longed for. Someone I dreamed of. Someone I wanted for a very long time. But never came sooner. Only much later. After I have met others, loved and unloved, out of place and all that.

Someone like my dad. Someone who gave me security, and warms my heart. Someone I could trust. Someone who believes in me. All the things I could do. Or couldn't. Someone who have faith in me. And accepted me with all my insecurities, my failures.

When we started dating without the group thingy, I remembered I did all the talking. Benny was the quiet one. He only smiled or the occasional Yes, No. So I had to open up to him. Tell him things about me. Then ask him about his. Our initial days were all about who are you, what are you, what was your childhood like. Getting to know each other in-depth. Like an intensive study of one-self.

He would bring me to the finest places for food. He didn't have a car back then. But we took taxi wherever we went. He never allowed me to take a bus home. He was a gentleman. Paid for everything. Opened car doors, shopping doors, restaurant doors, etc.

If we had to cross the road, he would walk in front to shield me, just in case. He always say. If we walked on a busy road, he would walk beside me, where the cars came dashing by, almost inches from his shoulders. Yes, he made me felt really secured.

I never told him what I wanted. Somehow, I know I prayed, and I told God what I wanted. I asked God to help me find that special someone. And when that someone comes, and if he comes from God, I would know for sure. Because this someone will be doing all the things I wanted him to do.

There was one time we waited for a taxi at Lucky Plaza's taxi stand. The queue was extremely long. So I told Benny we should take a bus instead. As its getting late, my mom would nag at me if I am home after 11pm. During this bus trip, I was humming that song by Bobby Vinton..and Benny ask me

"You also like Bobby's song? I loved old songs, evergreens too. My favourite was from the Brothers Four and of course Elvis Presley. .... and also Cliff Richard."

Gosh! At the back of my head, I was in the million chances would someone tell me something like that? So we ended up singing Bobby Vinton's old songs at the back seats in the double decker bus 103 from Orchard Road to Jalan Kayu.

And in my heart, I said a quiet prayer... "Thank you, Heavenly Father..."

End of Part Two..see you tomorrow..

Mar 22, 2010

Love is...(Part 1)

The Holy Bible says it so well. So much so that its used so many times as part of scripts in romance movies, or as part of a love vow a couple tells each other in front of family and friends when they marry at the Church.

Love is patient;
Love is kind;
Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
It is not irritable or resentful;
It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians Chapter 13, verses 4-7

I am getting to lovey-dovey lately due to the Twilight movie. Because it reminds me of my love. The love my hubby and I shared. There were certain scenes or words said during the movie that reminds me that once upon a time, my hubby said the same things to me.

This is going to be long post. A post I wanted to write. To celebrate LOVE. And for my grils to read and come back and read it again. Although I have told my eldest daughter Natasha of this before. Love is not something you hide behind closed doors, or under the carpet. It should be talked about, and shared.

I met Benny in the year I left my previous boyfriend. My ex and I were dating for 2 years and everyone who knew me thought I was to marry him. Much to their disappointment, I didn't. I chose to leave him. His name is Sidney. He was a good man. He loved me too. But he wasn't the man for me. After 2 years, I found out and I chose to leave him. And I buried my pain in my work. I worked long hours to hide my pain. My good friend, Suzie came to my rescue. I would confide to her. And even told her I will never loved another again. Sidney didn't do anything to me. Literally. He didn't cheat on me, or kept late nights. But I long for security, of warm, of being loved unconditionally. To be swept off my feet. He couldn't do any of those for me. Our relationship came to a standstill after the initial 'honeymoon' love stage.

I used to think, at this stage, our love came to a standstill. And we are not even married. What if we are married? Was there something missing in us? Or something wrong along the way that we didn't do?

Or was I being too far fetched in finding that Mr Right? Does he actually exists? A man who would love me unconditionally. Who would love me for all that I am. Who would love me more than I would love myself?

Suzie thinks I am crazy. She says there is no such person. Although she was in love with a man. She told me hers wasn't like what I wanted in a man. Or maybe I really was expecting too much.

So I told myself back then in early 1986, this is UNREAL. There is no such LOVE. There is no such person out there who fit into my 'chart'.

Then Suzie felt I shouldn't be unhappy and sad on weekends. She arranged for me to go out with her on blind dates. It was through one of these blind dates I met Benny.

At first, I told myself just to go and have a good time, eat, drink and be happy. Don't be too serious in finding someone to love. If he does come along, good. If he doesn't, just enjoy the company of friends and food.

But this guy was persistent. He kept asking Suzie to arrange for more such group outings. I felt at times we are like going for an excursion of some kind. We are always going out as a group!

Benny was a shy man. He hardly spoke through out all our group outings. I felt as if he was trying to tell me something everytime. But as a group, he felt shy to say what was on his mind. So after a couple of outings, I suggested that we go out together. Instead with Suzie and her boyfriend who is now her husband. :)

This is the end of Part 1 of this long post. I will write again. Watch out for this..

This is us..back in 1986. 2 months after we met and dated...

and 16 years later(with 2 daughters). Photo was taken in 2002, November. Our 16th Wedding Anniversary

Mar 21, 2010

Read a Movie

You would read a book, or watch a movie. So what is to Read a Movie? I put simply as read a book, then watch a movie. Provided Hollywood decided to pick that book you read and made a movie out of it. But these days, more common than not, many people are buying books to read then catch the movie when its comes to Singapore. It keep the authors happy and the movie makers, casting crew even more happy. The show must go on!

I remember as a child, my dad suggested that I read only books he have selected for me. As I was growing up, I found out that I read the most pecuilar books. Kids my age don't read book titles like these:

The Old man and The sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Time Machine by H G Wells
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
White Fang by Jack London
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

When all my friends were reading Goldilocks and the 3 Bears or Enid Blyton's books. And when everyone else were reading Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, I was reading Sherlock Holmes. In my teens, I wanted to read romance novels like my peers did. My dad would again picked these for me instead:

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I felt most out of place with my peers. Because they were all reading Mills and Boons collection of wild romance and have so much in common to talk about. I have nothing much to say. I could never understand why my dad made me read those books. Not until I left school, went to work. Or finding work.

Never would dream of a day I wanted a job so bad(because it meant I could leave my monotonous IT Computing work) to try something new (Desktop Publishing, training and extensive travelling in the region).

I went for an interview..I got the job because my boss gave me a questionaire to fill in. One of the questions was :

What books I read as a child that made me different. It never ask why I should read the book. But what I read. So I wrote "The old man and the sea". My boss had to talk to me later and ask me why I said that. I told her, because I hated that book. Because it was the most boring book I have ever read. Later, my dad brought me to the movies to watch the book that was made into a Movie.

It was then, I understood every word, every expression the author wanted to depict or to express.

I got the job because of this book I read. My other skills doesn't seem important at that point of time. She says I can just learn the job as it goes. I stayed in that company for almost 4 years. My boss named me the "Best Employee" she ever had in 10 years of her career with the company.

All because of a book I read, and the movie I watched with my dad. I still find that story boring but the movie made the book come alive. The only sad thing was I knew what was to happen, because I read the book. There were no surprises at the end.

But my dad told me that movies are often slightly twisted from the original book. From print, its possible to write every emotion, every moment, every facade in life. But when you make a movie, certain depictions are difficult to follow. And not every actor or actress can express that emotion, that very act.

So there is still some form of surprises, some excitement left to be discovered when you watch a movie after you have read the book.

Right now, I am trying something different. Watch a movie then read the book.

The movie I am watching now is Twilight and reading the book which Natasha bought a year ago.

But while I try to find out what the book really writes about, the movie made the book come to life. No wonder everyone is so crazy about this Twilight movie. If you ever been in love, I mean seriously, hopelessly in love, this Twilight movie really makes you rekindle old flames..!

Mar 18, 2010

You are my Hiding Place...

In His time, He taught me to release, to let go and to forget. I cannot believe that it really happened. Today is Thursday, March 18 2010. To forget Beauty which I thought I would never forget her. She passed away on March 7th, 2007.

I don't think of her anymore. But I still loved her from my heart. I don't see her in the things I used to do with her in it. In the void, I found her in another pet we had in the house.

I remembered crying my heart out for Beauty when she passed away in my arms. Thank God for good friends and a good Vet like Dr Lee who understands what I was going through. He shared my tears with me. Because he watched and took care of her throughout her puppy days till she breathed her last.

Thank God for families who understands that pets are family too. Although many think that as pet lovers we are over reacting.
It is through Beauty's passing, I met many people whom I thought were strangers. One such person was the late Billy Cotton. With whom I never met personally. But a chef and a friend who was in USA. Who used to write to me and consoled me and comfort me.

As now I look back, I realised that God provided me with friends here, there and everywhere. With the strength to carry on each day. There will be always be hurt as long as we live, but to have God, is knowing that there is hope, there is love and there is peace.

A beautiful hymn, "You are my hiding place" I shared this with you...

Mar 15, 2010

An Elephant never forgets

And I would like to think that a Dog too. Especially with mine. Jing Jing, our female shetland sheepdog. Yesterday after dinner, while playing with her, I noticed that her collar was loose. So I removed it to tighten it. Her collar is like a belt with a clip that you can adjust to shorten it or to lengthen it.

She was most upset. She sat there whinning at me. Poking her muzzle into my hands. Then Melody said it may reminded her of her past. It was then, I remembered. Jing Jing was a puppy with very sad eyes. A forlorn look. When we took her home with us, I got into a taxi. She was whinning inside the taxi too. I thought she was car-sick. I rang up the ex owner and she said Jing Jing don't like car rides and don't like her collar removed. We had to remove her collar when the owner sold it to us.

That action meant that she was going away...AGAIN!

In all, she has came and went into 5 homes excluding the last one which is us. She was only a 7 month old puppy but she has been from her first home to the pet shop. Then to a man for his wife..which later was given away to the man's secretary because she was grieving over the death of her dog. Who in turn was taken away from her because she couldn't care for her and ended up in another house.

Jing Jing had no name. Was often called as "Hey" or "A" or "ah girl". She had a collar that was removed time and again whenever she moved into a new home. And that accompanied with a car ride.

So she remembered : a car ride or collar removed is bad news. Means nobody wants her. She will be sent away again.

this was Jing Jing when she first came to our place. She loved the girls and would sit on Natasha's lap all the time. She has this fear that nobody wants her. So she stayed very closely to all of us.

Over time, with lots of love and assurance, she knew we are always here for her. She is happier now. But she still remembers. So it is also for this reason that Dr Lennie Lee(the vet who also treated my past pets) visits her for her annual medical checkup and her vaccinations.

Jing Jing is now 3 years old. How time has just flew by.

Mar 12, 2010

O is for Oyster Omelette

A fellow blogger ask me for this recipe. Something I learnt from Pauline D Loh. Here's the recipe.

200g oysters(I used frozen pack)
3 eggs(beaten)
50g Sweet Potato Starch
100ml water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
fresh coriander leaves as garnish

1. mix the starch with water, stir till well mixed.
2. Add salt to beaten eggs
3. Heat up the frying pan with cooking oil
4. Scoop a ladle full of starch mixture and pour onto the hot pan.
5. When it starts to crisp on the sides of the pan, pour egg mix on top.
6. Let it cook for a while about 1 min or so.
7. Add some oysters on top.
8. Next, pour the remaining starch mixture on top and rest of oysters.
9. Slowly flipped it over to crisp the other side.
10. Serve hot, garnish with pepper and coriander leaves

Mar 2, 2010

Roses are Red

Been wanting to try this for some time now. Ever since I brought in the Jupe Rose Concentrated paste to sell in my store. I have used it to make cookies. It was lovely. Today, I decided to use the recipe I use for the UME Plum Chiffon Cake. Turn out the cake was super light and the rose taste was evident but not too overpowering.

I added dried rose petals to make it something as real as eating a Rose cake. A recipe to keep..

I used a tiny silicone tube pan for this. Was rather surprise it still could hold its height and shape. I didn't flip it over. But removed the cake soon after its cooled.

Sliced and showing bits of the rose petals. Rose petals became chewy after its baked. Nice!

Ingredients A
4 egg yolks
125g Top flour
80ml fresh milk(I used UHT full cream milk)
2.5 tbsp Jupe Rose Concentrated paste

10 g dried roses(soak in hot water to soften)

Ingredients B4 egg whites
80g fine sugar

1. Remove rose petals and discard stalk and branch. Discard the water.
2. In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks to whip till well mixed.
3. Add milk, fruit paste and rose petals to stir. then add flour and stir to mix evenly. Set aside.
4. Whip egg whites in a cake mixer till foamy. Then pour in sugar slowly.
5. Whip till it peaks. Stop the mixer and fold in egg yolk batter with it.
6. Pour into tube pan
7. Bake in preheated oven 160C for 35 mins.
8. Serve cooled.

You can get Jupe Rose Concentrated Paste from Kitchen Capers store. Costs S$8.80 per 100g bottle.