Sunday, May 13, 2012

My account of Bersih 3.0 Melaka

When I said to Jason that we should participate in Bersih Melaka 3.0, he replied, "But I can't run. What if they start firing teargas?!" We laughed but really, the images from Bersih 2.0 had gotten stuck in our minds and hearts. Perhaps, it was those very images that sealed the deal for me. I will participate in Bersih Melaka 3.0.

Now, I have people telling me (and this was after last year's Bersih), "What's the point of all this? Might as well stay at home and not get hurt. This kinda thing won't change anything." Maybe immediate change in our country was not evident after Bersih 2.0 but I would not say that it was in vain. Even a small pebble can cause multiple and increasingly big ripples. Somethings were already brewing. Change had begun.

Personally, I wanted to put action to my words. I had spoken against the unfair governance of our country among family and friends and in cyberspace. I should walk my talk. I also want my kids to know that when we can, we should take action on our convictions. There's honour and integrity in that.

And so, we followed the developments via Facebook and made plans. Salt, a bottle of water and face towels were packed into a small backpack. We dug our cupboard for yellow tees. Emergency numbers were saved into our handphones. We asked my in laws if we could leave the kids with them for those few hours. We planned where to park the car.

Saturday, 28 April 2012, was bright and hot. We had explained the whole thing to our 8 and 6+ year olds as best we could. We arrived at my in laws' home early. Jason started checking Facebook for updates. Roads to Dataran Pahlawan were clear. Ample parking in Mahkota Parade. At about 12.15pm we left for Dataran Pahlawan.

We parked near Jonker Street and started walking. As we neared the Clock Tower, I saw two police bikes parked along the road near Aldy Hotel, tourists buying ice cream, tourists in trishaws and tourists snapping photos. A typical Saturday afternoon in Historical Malacca. No other yellow tees in sight.

As we neared the public pool, I saw a police truck parked by the road and a bunch of policemen taking shade under a tree at the playground. A few more were keeping watch as we neared Dataran. They looked very serious.

We made our way to the "rooftop" of Dataran and saw quite a number of people in yellow tees lounging in Old Town and walking about. I felt less conspicuous then. We could see that the field had been cordoned off for a "Pancaragam dan Kugiran" event by MBMB. We made our way to the seats which were almost empty. The VIP chairs and table were to our left and there were half filled glasses and empty saucers on the table. The VIPS had left. On the field, a stage was erected far out in the center and canopies with rows of seats were on either side of it. We could see the students in their band uniforms on the left and no one under the canopy on the right. The band on stage started playing and a lady started singing a Malay song. We left to find our friends.

At about 1.15pm, two or three people informed all of us to gather downstairs, at the main entrance of the Mall. I could see quite a crowd there and someone was shouting, "Bersih! Bersih!" and almost everyone echoed. Then someone started singing Negaraku and we all joined in. The excitement was palpable. Some held banners, some waved flags, quite a number took photos or videos. Jason and I got busy joining the photogs. A group went to the roadside with their banner and several cars honked in support. A cheer went up when lawyers in their robes joined the crowd. We all then made our way to the steps leading to the field.

We were there for a good 15-20 minutes. A YB took a hailer and started speaking and leading the "chants" of "Bersih! Bersih! Hidup Rakyat!" etc. The air was festive and filled with anticipation. It was almost 2.00pm and the YB made his way to the top of the steps and everyone got ready to enter the field area. We were way back in line. Everyone waited patiently for the barricade to be opened. No jostling. The crowd started to move forward. And stopped. The people at the top turned back. A few seconds later, they moved forward again. And turned back again. There were murmurs and we were wondering what's wrong. We could not see past the crowd to the top of the steps but suddenly, the crowd started to move down towards us quickly and there was some sort of scuffle at the top of the steps and some loud protests. Jason immediately put his arm around me and started to lead me away. That's when I heard a loud clank like metal hitting concrete. I turned in time to see a man in dark blue uniform (there were quite a number of them at the top of the steps, behind the barricade), angrily pushing and kicking something. I think he hit out at the barricade and one piece of it fell. I felt scared for he was the first angry and violent person I've seen since we arrived and I was afraid that things might get out of hand. Thankfully, the crowd did not push back or fight. Most waited patiently. Two young men lifted the fallen barricade. People started gesturing to the next flight of steps and most of us made our way there and onto the tiled area ringing the field for those steps were not barricaded. So what's the point of barricading that one flight of steps? The bunch of men in dark blue standing guard behind it? The show of anger? It's silly and pointless.

There were cheers here and there as the crowd moved onto the tiled area. Groups of yellow tees big and small were under the shades of trees, in huddles under umbrellas, simply filling up the area. There were grannies and grandpas, young couples with young kids, lotsa teens and young adults, pakciks, makciks, you name it. Though the crowd was predominantly Chinese, I saw Malays, Indians and Eurasians too. An old lady handed me a yellow balloon. She then started to echo the chant of "Bersih! Bersih!". Out of time with the crowd. In a tiny voice and a fierce, determined expression. I smiled. We strained to hear the YB with the hailer but could not make out what was said above the groups of chants all around us. I stood on tip toe and could make out that a group had plodded themselves down on the hot, scorching tiles and there were echoes of "Duduk. Duduk." It was supposed to be DUDUK Bantah after all but most of us did not. We just continued standing in clumps under the blazing sun.

I looked to the field and behind the red and white tape that surrounded the field, the police stood and observed quietly. Some were sitting under the canopy. A school band was marching round the field and the crowd cheered. I think it was because the berets of their band uniform was yellow in colour.

At about 3.30pm, the crowd started marching round the field, ended up at the Old Town area and slowly dispersed. We met a few friends, chatted and decided to leave. We then discovered that a large portion of the crowd had gathered at the Fort. We joined them. There were quite a number of anti-lynas supporters there too. After more rallying and chanting, we all sang Melaka Maju Jaya and Negaraku and at 4.00pm, most of us started dispersing.

We were not far from the Fort when we saw several youngsters, five or six of them, in red or black tees, standing on and around a small makeshift platform, shouting "Kotor! Kotor!". Yells of "Bersih! Bersih!" was thrown back in reply. The red-blacks then yelled "Bersih bodoh! Bersih kampung!" and other unpleasant stuff while the yellows countered. Policemen had gathered there in case it got ugly. A pastor friend with a hailer urged the crowd of yellows to disperse and not to be fooled into a fight with the red-blacks. Jason took my hand and told me to walk away quickly.

As we waited to cross a street, a car with Wilayah plates slowed down next to us and the passenger smiled and gave us a thumbs up. I smiled and nodded in return. We got home tired, lobster red but safe and excited. That excitement was short lived. We turned on the internet and read in mounting horror about the way the rally in KL had gone. The video clips of people trying to run away from tear gas and water cannons, being caught and beaten, and that terrible tragedy of the police car crashing into a group of protesters, shocked and saddened us. Days after, as I continued to read the many eyewitness accounts and the sad response of the government, I struggled with the price many have paid and will continue to pay for a change in our country. Was it worth it? Time will tell. My conviction remain unchanged. We must speak out against injustice. We must not be silent for if we are, what is left of Malaysia for future generations? May the Lord hear our cries and heal our land.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Update on Jason's condition

Dear family & friends,

Jason went to UH again on 20 September. Sorry, for the delay in updating all of you. I realize that the updates have been lengthy and filled with medical jargon. I'm afraid this one will be the same because there are friends who just came to know about it and asked for information.

In the MRI above, there's this white longish oval shape at the C5. And beneath it, at the right side of the spinal cord, a thin, longish white shape. Those are the syrinx. The condition is known as syringomyelia. Here's how wikipedia defines syringomyelia:

"a generic term referring to a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate over time, destroying the spinal cord. The damage may result in pain, paralysis, weakness, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities. Syringomyelia may also cause a loss of the ability to feel extremes of hot or cold, especially in the hands. The disorder generally leads to a cape-like loss of pain and temperature sensation along the back and arms. Each patient experiences a different combination of symptoms. These symptoms typically vary depending on the extent and, often more critically, to the location of the syrinx within the spinal cord."

In Jason's case, his left arm is numbish and he's not able to feel hot and cold in that arm .

The MRI above shows a small, sort of roundish white circle (near the top of the MRI) at the T5. This is a blood clot caused by AVM. The wikipedia defines AVM :

"Arteriovenous malformation or AVM is an abnormal connection between veins and arteries, usually congenital."

Congenital means from birth. As I understand it, it's like the veins and arteries have their set 'pathways" but somehow when there's AVM, the veins or arteries may criss cross and that causes blood clots, and the docs believe, the syrinx above.

So, the UH docs are saying that the main cause is AVM.

The solution: The doc said that we can choose to leave the blood clot there and nothing might happen. However, IF it bursts, causing bleeding, the result can be catastrophic (since the clot is at T5, it may mean paralysis in the lower limbs).

Then there's also the syrinx. Leaving it might result in progression of the symptoms.

They are scheduling him for a spinal angiogram soon. They'll be able to see then, the exact location of the clot and syrinxs so that they can ascertain the level of risk in surgery.

We believe that Jesus heals. His ministry on earth was not only to bring us to salvation, but to heal us (Luke 4:18). His crucifixion - He shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and to lift us from every curse; His body was bruised/broken/whipped that we might in turn receive healing (1 Peter 2:24). The Bible says it. We believe it. His Word shall come to pass. Last year, a prophet said that the devil wants to put me in a wheelchair but God will HEAL ME. We did not even know the cause of the numbness at that time. God sees all and knows all. We believe His Word.

In light of this, we have decided to look to Him 100% in faith and no longer to the doctors. Therefore, no more scans and tests. His Word is everlasting and all His promises are Yes and Amen! Pray and believe with us that the manifestation of His FINISHED WORK ON THE CROSS will come to pass SOON! Your prayers and your faith will mean much to us. In the Word, the faith of friends of the sick were commended upon by Jesus. In fact, Jesus was even amazed at one time by the faith of the centurion, whose SERVANT was sick, not him. Jesus healed the servant (Matthew 8). Your faith counts too!

Thank you for praying and believing with us. We cannot thank you enough for such support. It's good to know that we are not alone. We pray also that in all your efforts and faith, God will reward your fervency with blessings in abundance. He loves to bless!

We'll keep you updated as best we can.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cutlery Racism?

My hubby brought my attention to the pic above. It was in a local hypermart's brochure. We were....kinda perplexed. Chinese spoons? Really?! I remember it being popularly referred to as a soup spoon by locals. Apparently that could've been by my generation. Possibly, the current generation notices cutlery culture (for want of a better term) and hey, the Chinese are the ones using these spoons right? So Chinese Spoons la! Some may shout, Cutlery Racism!!! (LOL) But it's just a spoon. Peace.


Sean is slowly but surely learning to read. Being the sensitive sort and afraid of failing, he's taken to quietly reading storybooks by himself rather than read out loud with me. The kindy he attends uses the phonic system and I do work with him on it at home too.

He surprised me this evening by grabbing pencil and paper and asking me for help writing a sentence. He's never done this before. This is what he wrote.

He saw that the cordless phone was not at its station and decided to make a sign and place it there. I was so proud of him.

Aidan was not to be left out and with pen and paper in hand also asked me for help. I was busy then and Sean helped him. This is the result.

Ok, so the grammar's off but I'm proud of the initiative and the fact that they worked together. :)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Atypical Aidan

It was bedtime. The time when my kids sometimes churn out weird/funny thoughts and comments. Tonight it was from Aidan.

With his manja voice he said, "Good night mummy, sweet dreams, sleep tight! (his usual bedtime saying). Thank you mummy for letting us watch the concert CD. I love mummy. Sorry, I disobeyed you just now."

A pause. And then...

"How do you feel now that I've said sorry?"

Frankly, I didn't know how to feel. I was tired, still a bit upset with his disobedience, noted that his "I love mummy" was because he got to watch the concert CD, settling in on the apology when he caught me with that question.

Nary a dull moment with my two!

The homie and his bro.

Sean the man :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here's to everyone!

click on the photo for a larger view

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Revised & extended stories by Aidan Teh

Last night, Aidan was having dinner and singing songs about fat sausages (go figure!) when he suddenly said, "Mummy! I have a story to tell you!" And so it began. Two super edited and extended versions of stories we know. No one can say the kid has no imagination! (Excuse the grammar though. The little tyke is only 4).

Baby Jesus (Version 2009. TOTALLY revised and err...upgraded)

"This is baby Jesus (draws in the air with his finger). And this - draws a square shape - is the hotel. One of the bad men came to find him but when he arrived, baby Jesus grow up already. And then He fight with the bad man until, until - pauses and dramatically does vertical shaking motions with his hands - until the temple came crashing down!"

Oh wow! Such talent! The ability to mesh Bible stories into one explosive, action packed masterpiece! Yes, we are in awe! LOL! On to the other story....

The Ant and the Bird (the super extended version. The version you know had the best bits snipped.)

"An ant was in the river. Drowning. A bird plucked a leaf and threw it on the ant! The ant climbed on the leaf and was saved. A man with a gun was going to shoot the bird but the ant bite him and the bird was saved!"

"What does this story teach you?" I asked.

"All about ants!" was his quick, confident reply. It was hard to choose between rolling my eyes and laughing out loud. Might burst a blood vessel if I tried both simultaneously, so I kept a composed smile on my face.

"And then! A dinosaur, a T-Rex came and grabbed the bird! The ant quickly bite the T-Rex until die!"

Before I could wrap my brain around the unexpected appearance of the dino,...

"An eagle came! The ant called the man to shoot the eagle! And then, and then - he got really excited, I can sense another brilliant cameo coming - a robot appeared! The ant and the man fight with the robot until it's destroyed!"

Aidan smiled with satisfaction. He's told awesome stories and he knows it. I was left gaping at the sheer genius (and audacity!) of the stories and I grabbed pen and paper and jot it down before my too-stunned-brain left out important details.

Don't you just wanna squish him in a geram-hug? And then worry how to disentangle the Bible stories back to its original, correct, albeit less action-packed version? No worries about the ant and the bird (some ant, huh?) though. It's time fables get a facelift.

The author-editor extraordinaire.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

When I grow up, I wanna be...

Most of us remember our childhood dreams. What we wanna be when we grow up. More often than not, those dreams change as we age and acquire new interests or new insights on life. I can't remember my childhood dreams. I put it down to sleep deprivation!

Anyway, the other day, Sean asked me (with a very serious expression), "Mummy what do u think I can be when i grow up?" "Anything you want, as long as you work at it," I replied. "3 of my friends in class wanna be policemen when they grow up." "What about you?" I asked. "Me? I wanna be...."

He paused and thought and I waited with bated breath. This is the first "I wanna be" conversation with my firstborn and it's so meaningful!

"I wanna be....Optimus Prime!" he said and burst into cheeky laughter.

*sigh* *Rips the page off the invisible book of nostalgia, crumples it and throws it away*

"This is my Autobot face."


Children are so literal. Case in point: Sean asked his daddy one day, "If i drink a lot of water, will it wash Jesus out of my body?" Huh?! He is struggling with the idea that Jesus lives in his heart. So we get these kinda questions once in a while. Sure keeps us on our toes! :)
"I ask interesting questions don't I?"