Archives for category: Imperfect World

Another one bites the dust.

This kind of news always makes me wonder what to believe.

Is it more ludicrous to believe that there is a god that allows these sorts of tragedies to take place just to make us need him more, or that this 17-year old boy will not face an afterlife of eternal torture for what he’s done because there IS nothing after death?

I have a very inquisitive almost-seven-year-old and Lokes and I have a philosophy of telling her the truth in a way we are sure she understands for a child her age. She’s asked about babies, death, religion. Each time, we’d hesitate, saying, “Give me a minute to find a way to explain this very important thing to you.” Ultimately, we’d only answer her question in a very limited, compartmentalized manner.

When she was about five, she asked what happened when people died. We told her that we buried them or turned them to ash, but they lived on in our hearts as memories. She was a little sad about that because she was thinking about her grandparents (they’re still alive and well but she was in a contemplative mood).

When she asked about babies, I answered, “Something called a sperm from daddy and an egg in Mommy, when they are put together, makes a baby that grows in Mommy’s tummy.” Her answer was, and is always, “Oh.” And she’d walk off to ruminate. She never asked how the sperm would get there.

One day, she asked if everyone was Christian, because she was reading a picture bible someone had bought for her a long time ago. We never stopped her because to us, it’s still knowledge. I told her that people have different beliefs how things work in the world, and that Mommy and Daddy believe in science. She was happy with that answer, being somewhat of a science geek herself.

I wonder what I’d say if she asked why that boy shot all those kids (children these days are very observant and I won’t be surprised if someone from school starts talking about it). Frankly, I’d be stumped. I can’t say he was nuts because he may very well just be evil. Is evil a kind of mental disease? Psychologists have been debating this for centuries. 

What would you say if your child asked you about why bad things happen to kids? What would you say if she or he asked what happens when this bad person takes his own life?

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Inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TEDtalk, I have decided to make this post on things I’ve learnt in life so far:

1. Fair or not, beauty has its uses. The need and want for symmetry in our lives make us both human and terrible beings. 

2. It is better to love someone more than they love you because you will always be the better person.

3. It is far better to forgive but not forget, than to forget but never forgive. 

4. Exercise every day of your life. There is nothing better than fresh air coursing through your veins, sweat and muscular pain.

5. Nothing you do will change your children but they will change you. 

6. Some people are really not meant to be parents. It is sad they often find out too late.

7. Education is only for perception because people and corporations are too busy to learn to trust you the old-fashioned way – through comradeship.

8. Learning to unplug is perhaps the biggest challenge mankind will have to undertake in the future.

9. Perfect pancakes do not need PAM on a Teflon-coated saucepan.

10. It is possible to trust an idiot and not know it.

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Pain has a sweet odor about it
I think of that moment
that pang
and I taste saccharine
like a fake sick
sweet

My heart, my chest really
a bruise forming
sick
thumping, slowly
beating pumping
holy shit it hurts

Someone pass me
another round of rum 

Summer hols are here!

Where I come from, people hide in coffee shops and air-conditioned malls in the day, making snide remarks about crazy Gwailos lying in the nude on rooftops and front yards in the sweltering heat, searing their skins thin to a leathery texture.

Two years in Seattle is enough to turn even the most UV-phobic Malaysian into the most ardent of sunscreen-slathering, fancy eyeware-wearing sun worshippers (which not even seven days in 95F Florida could re-scare into a closet). 

We’re ready, Summer. Come out and play!

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A few days ago, KUOW’s Ross Reynolds was discussing vaccinations.

Basically, there have were some recent outbreaks of measles and naturally, the media milked it. Reynolds called for comments and naturally, pro-vaccination AND anti-vaccination people (moms mostly) responded. There was even a doctor present and everything.

One woman, who was clearly of the “I’m not giving my money to another cheatin’, lyin’ pharmaceutical!” camp, emailed in and blamed the measles outbreak on poor nutrition and bad parenting. What was surprising was that the doctor had diplomatically agreed with some of her points, “particularly about nutrition contributing to the overall health of a child”. If I hadn’t been driving, I would’ve picked up the phone…and called my husband in a middle of a meeting to bitch about how some women just have arses for brains.

I’m sure someone somewhere has made this argument already, but there is such a thing called “herd immunity“, which essentially makes getting vaccinated a social responsibility.

The article linked here says it best – doing what’s factually good for our kids, and doing what we emotionally feel is good for our kids, can be two very different things. While a majority of us vaccinate, there are those who are skittish or just think they know better. And yet, everybody stays relatively safe, say, from smallpox, all because of herd immunity.

Now I’ve met a few “Earth Mama” types who say they’ve done all the research and think that immunization is just big business trying to wheedle money out of us poor, ignorant bastards, using the media to pump us full of fear and BS (pardon the pun). Now I’m a big breastfeeding supporter but breast milk does NOT prevent chicken pox.

Honestly? I find it hard to believe that you’ve read 20 million pages of medical data and probably two thousand combined years of research by scientists who all conclude that vaccination is the way to go.

And sure, it might provoke a violent reaction from one out of 30,000 kids and I’m sorry if that turns out to be yours, but you know what, those odds are better than the one out of 1000 where your kid contracts Hep A from eating contaminated crayfish and dying (yes, I’m pulling those numbers out of my roomy arse, but they sound rhetorically right).

Sometimes, it doesn’t even work, but nothing’s perfect. As long as my child doesn’t grow an extra toe from it, I’m good.

Let’s say your son grows up to become a Doctor Without Borders (a path you’d most likely encourage him to take, because why wouldn’t he? You would’ve brought him up to be all nobley and non-profity) and ends up somewhere in Nicaragua where he contracts, I dunno, mumps?

As his face swells up to unrecognizable proportions, you can barely make out the words coming out of his mouth because of the flies swarming over his drool-streaked chin, his one good eye peering questioningly at you over the webcam:

“Why wum? Why deen you wad-nate me?” (Translation: Why mom? Why didn’t you vaccinate me, you sanctimonious idiot?”)

My point is, get over yourself. It’s one thing to have your child get vaccinated and then watch with alarm as he sleeps 12 hours straight (now that’s a reaction), and another to not be able to watch your kid squirm and cry through another shot.

It’s one thing to be genuinely concerned over unnecessary vaccinations made by ONE company because your gut tells you it smacks of capitalistic maneuvering, and another to be throwing ALL pharmaceuticals selling vaccines together as if capitalism itself should be outlawed just because you can’t watch your kid squirm and cry through another shot.

And if your kid is enjoying better health, it’s not because you fed him better or are a better parent. It’s because my children are vaccinated – as are 200 million others.

So the next time you feel like criticizing the very people who are keeping your vaccine-free kid from contracting a life-threatening disease, think.

Think of Nicaragua and mumps.

ps. No offence to Nicaraguans. I pulled that out of my fat arse too.

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My name is Jennifer Tai, and I am a Malaysian Chinese. Malaysia is a moderate Muslim country, which means its official religion is Islam.

However, I am not a Muslim. I grew up in a small town named Ipoh, and I attended a Methodist Church for a number of years. There are no laws against being a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or anything else you want to be – unless you’re a native Malay, in which case you’re automatically Muslim. So, there’s relative freedom of religion in my country.

Malaysia claims to be a secular state, and for the everyday Malaysian living in the more urban areas, the country and its laws do feel secular, which means non-Muslims do not walk around in headscarves and are not subject to Sya’ria laws.

The reason why I’m blogging about this is to share with my American friends that there is NOTHING to fear about Islam. ABSOLUTELY ZERO. I am a non-Muslim who grew up, lived among Muslims all my life and I am still alive. I was not converted. I’ve never been oppressed. I ate pork and consumed alcohol and partied like it was 1999 (I did). I may not agree with a lot of the things the administration of the day has implemented, but that has nothing to with Islam, just dirty politics.

NPR reported today that 10 per cent of Americans think Barack Obama is a really a Muslim even though he isn’t, just because of his middle name, Hussein. To this 10 per cent, here’s what I have to say: There must be billions of Chinese in America and around the world who have English or American first names, whether or not they’re Christians. You don’t see people questioning my right to the name “Jennifer” when I’m not 1. English or 2. a Christian.

I remember, in college, having met two Chinese Christian brothers whose parents named them Shamsuddin and Jeffri (that’s how the Malay version of Jeffrey is spelt). These are typically Muslim names but Sham and Jeff were not Muslims. It was just the way the parents embraced being Malaysians.

So, in summary:

IT’S JUST A NAME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

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Check this out.

Thanks for Twittering this, MomLogic.

My knowledge of this is only as far as Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, which is a fair supposition of what happens when the harvester and harvestee grow up and the cancer is still not cured. My experience of having to make these decisions is zero. I pray, sometimes, to a Christian God, and live a mostly culturally Christian life, but am on the path towards believing that faith is really just healing and growing and moving towards the realisation that our purpose may just only be to see how far the human civilization can go before premature annihilation having wasted away our planet and 85 million years of evolution.

So here’s my take:

I have no problems whatsoever about asking EXISTING children to help a sibling with matching organs or cells. The choice of either putting one child in danger, to make him or her suffer for his/her terminally ill sibling, or letting the latter die, is no choice at all.

However, to MAKE a baby for the purpose of harvesting stem cells to save another? I think it’s realistic to assume that stem cells as a cure is not 100%, and that is the real tragedy. Here, the choice is not whether or not you should save your dying child, but to resist from continually harvesting from your healthy one throughout his or her life should the stem cells not work and the cancer returns.

Are we as parents ready to make that choice? Or should we even get to choose when that healthy “saviour child” is no longer a baby with an umbilical cord full of precious stem cells, not just a sum of genetically compatible materials, but a person, who will grow up, who won’t go away even after our sick child is healed.

A person who will for the rest of his/her life be expected to stick around UNTIL that happens.

A person, whose purpose, undeniably becomes nil when that mission is accomplished. To know that the very reason for your existence is no more.

There is not enough therapy in the world to help a person through that.

We’re always saying that because we’ve never had to face these choices, that we are not in a position to judge, or even to comment. And yet, millions of people everyday dutifully sit in jury boxes everywhere, putting themselves in various difficult positions to make some very difficult decisions. This is because, despite our differences, we all live by the same laws and the same rules. Like it or not, we do not suffer only the consequences of our own actions, but that of others as well.

Now imagine making a person whose sole purpose in life IS to suffer these consequences.

Sadly, this cannot afford to be a “I’ll cross the bridge when I come to it” decision. Theological concerns notwithstanding, this is a question of a most basic human right – the right to life, liberty and security of person.

And for that, the decision is already made.

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Before coming here, I’d thought the whole China Baby thing was a few celebs adopting kids blown out of proportion (saw it on Sex and the City). Having lived here for two years, I can vouch that it’s not. Just here in Seattle, American families with Chinese or Asian babies are everywhere; at the playground, in my Moms group, at the mall, the library, the gym.

I must confess that it feels slightly odd to see so many Chinese babies (mainly girls) being adopted. Sometimes, the parents themselves look a little discomfited sitting next to me with their children, as though they’d taken one of my kids by mistake. I then try to put myself in their position, wondering how they’d look at me if I was walking around with a blue-eyed blonde baby. They’d probably think I’m the nanny.

Apparently, China babies are not the only ones up for grabs these days. The young men are as well. Payback for all those years of getting rid of unwanted daughters, eh?

Someone give these men eHarmony accounts!

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