Tag Archives: culture

MERDEKA!!

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so… Merdeka Day (Independence Day) came and went in Kuching, and it’s like just another holiday here. nothing really special – no big concerts or street parties or people carrying the Malaysian flag while riding their motorcycles and making a lot of noise with their horn along the streets. didn’t see a single car whose bonnet is covered with the national flag either unlike in KL or Penang. what’s more, there wasn’t even a single sound of fireworks. real quiet…. 🙂

either that or i was really really dead asleep at 11pm on Merdeka Eve.

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Stuck in Catcity

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life is super duper slow here; if not for Arielle’s daily antics, i can literally sit around the whole day and ‘phak bang’ (chase away mozzies). come to think of it, if not for Arielle, i really really don’t have anything to do at home… maybe start cleaning the house or finish ironing Ayl’s brothers’ big basket of unironed clothes. which was what i did the first time i came to Kuching (for 3 whole weeks!!!) before we got married.

yesterday i got to meet up with Pick Hiong and Jennifer (junior friends from UKM) and over some very expensive and ‘chic’ drinks, we caught up with each other. we met at 7pm, and all of us already had our dinner at home… hahaha! if we were in KL or Penang, we’d be having dinner together instead of after dinner drinks. sighs ~ Kuching life! it’s a norm if you want to go back home for lunch or even just to ‘pang sai’ (use the toilet) and rest for half and hour. everything is slow and easy here. a perfect place for retirees i’d suggest! 🙂

anyway, more of it when i have more to write about… since i’m at home only most times. *yawn*

Spring Cleaning

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i now fully understand the term ‘Spring Cleaning’. it was always known to me only as the time before our family celebrates CNY (Chinese New Year) that we would clean the whole house and get rid of broken or unwanted things; every year around that time of the year. why the ‘spring’ before the ‘cleaning’ – i never knew.

i’ve come to loathe that word ‘spring cleaning’ because there was always so much to clean, the season was super hot especially at that time of year, and to make things worse, my nose is super-sensitive to dust. i got into sneezing frenzies and i sweat buckets! 

back then in our old house, we didn’t have closed kitchen cabinets, only open shelves and things would be stacked high up near the ceiling. my grandmother had kept and kept and kept those ‘nice and expensive’ pots and pans in plastic bags and had rarely taken them down to use because they were ‘precious’, only to be used for some special occasion that never came; and they would collect dust for the whole year till we clean it during ‘spring cleaning’ before CNY. oh the tediousness!! and did i mention no use of vacuum cleaners and the luxury of having an air-con too! 

being here in a 4-season country, i’m getting the meaning why it’s called SPRING cleaning. i found out that living in snow is a hassle, but i just got to find out that it can also be costly in terms of premise/road maintenance. after all the snow had melted, we saw potholes EVERYWHERE on the roads. it sure wasn’t there before winter when we got here, and it’s not only where the busses or trucks frequent. it’s a good thing the council here took quick action on those potholes, they were getting bigger and bigger by the day, so unlike in Kajang. :P! 

on our balcony, the tiles where the snow had stayed the longest is chipping. now that it’s warmer i can go outside, so i cleaned the windows and the balconies (we got 3 balconies, 2 more to be done; phew!) and there was so much dirt! the pail of water turned ‘brak-brak’ even before i was halfway though. plus, the whole apartment outside is mostly painted in white!! A.GO.NY!

from the playground downstairs, i observed some units having renovation work, people shifting and cleaning houses, waste paper baskets are installed around the park area, pots with flowers are put on the balconies (should have one of those but scared later all die under my hands!)… etc. 

 

BEFORE; one month ago

BEFORE; nearly more than one month ago

 

 

chipped tiles

AFTER; chipped tiles, wonder how much it would be it maintain this; not that we're paying for it though

 

little helper

little helper

 

finally i can show off my hot legs

'finally i can show off my hot legs'

now that things are cleaned, there’s a sense of fulfillment and a kind of peace. the home is clean again, and this little girl can run free and easy.

Unconsciously Judging

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i’ve been spending more time with my friend Annette and her baby Chantal these days. We share a lot of things to each other about our family, our culture and our opinions and perception of things. As we come from such different backgrounds, there’s always something new to learn about each other.

this question just came to me again as i reflect on the things i’ve thought and shared out loud with her about cultures and people, most of the time talking about the differences in the Western with our Asian culture; they’re mostly my thoughts and not necessarily facts.

was i being too judgemental? why did i think like that?

this question came about the 1st time when ayl and i had a bad encounter with our neighbours on Christmas day itself. there was a car parked right behind us, blocking our exit and there was no other way out unless the driver moved his car. what else are we to do? there was no note or number to call so like what we usually do in Malaysia, we started to honk. it was really loud, and we waited for 5 – 10mins in the cold, but no one came. what next? as we continued our honking, we heard someone shouted really loudly from the apartment opposite. it was unintelligible coz it was in Slovak (so we didn’t know it was because of us); after another loud press on the horn, a man appeared at the balcony and shouted loudly at us in Slovak with his fist and disappeared quickly in. ayl and i were shocked!! and we felt sorry too to be causing so much racket in the middle of the day, but we couldn’t understand a word from the guy till a passerby interpretted for us – ‘baby sleeping’, what’s more, we’re stuck in this spot in the cold! as we considered for a few mins to either wait some more in silence or go back into the house, the driver finally came and removed his car. both ayl and i glared at him… 😛

needless to say, we were quite upset over what had happened. we felt really terrible for causing so much trouble on Christmas day; but at the same time, i felt intimidated as well. my blood started to boil all of a sudden and questions started going through my mind that night.

why did he have to shout? why can’t he be more civilized? how rude is that? why couldn’t he see we were in a spot? what else were we supposed to do? are Slovaks so bad tempered and ‘uneducated’?

this went on for a few days as i was quite upset over the incident. then come one day as i was pondering about this again and comparing mental notes with what facts that Annette has shared with me about Slovakia and its history during communism (Slovakia declared their Independence only in 1993), God showed me how i had judged too quickly, how i didn’t stop to understand first before i started to form negative opinions of these people. guiltily i confessed and repented. i would tell myself again and again now, to ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’.

a few days later, ‘Our Daily Bread’ devotional taught on Judging – how timely for me.

January 9, 2009

To Judge Or Not To Judge

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READ: Matthew 7:1-21

Judge not, that you be not judged. —Matthew 7:1

What better way to tell people to mind their own business than to quote Jesus? People who seldom read the Bible are quick to quote Matthew 7:1 when they want to silence someone whose opinion they don’t like. “Judge not, that you be not judged” seems like the perfect response.

In context, however, the passage indicates that we are indeed to judge; we’re just supposed to avoid faulty judgments. Furthermore, our judgments are to begin with self: “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,” Jesus said (v.5). He then said, “Beware of false prophets” (v.15). This too requires judging—we need to be able to discern truth from falsehood.

Jesus used the metaphor of fruit to give us the proper criteria for judging. “By their fruits you will know them” (v.20). We are to judge people (including ourselves) by the quality of the fruit they produce. This fruit cannot be judged by earthly values such as how good we look (v.15). It must be judged by heavenly values—the fruit of the Spirit produced within us—love, joy, peace (Gal. 5:22).

Our tendency is to judge by appearance. But God judges by what we produce, and so should we. —Julie Ackerman Link

They truly lead who lead by love
And humbly serve the Lord;
Their lives will bear the Spirit’s fruit
And magnify His Word. —D. De Haan

Be slow to judge others and quick to judge yourself.

One man’s Meat is another man’s Deco

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we eat carp fish for Christmas!

my eyes bulged and my mind went directly to the fountain pond at my uncle’s house in Penang … full of carp fish! what the … ?

and it’s true; it’s a traditional dish for Slovaks – but maybe just not exactly the one that i had pictured in my head. koi_carpwe went over to Annette’s place during Christmas and she served us carp – the meat is tender and it tasted just like any other fish; Aylwin enjoyed it and he had more than 1 helping. me? guess i couldn’t take my mind away from the pond to fully enjoy it. ahahaha…

Deserted on Christmas

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it’s such a culture shock for us – to see everything closed and streets and highways totally deserted!! it was nearly like a ghost town! 

yesterday after the Christmas Eve service at church, Aylwin decided we should eat out – but thankfully the day before we stocked up on groceries coz, in the end after driving around, there was no place to go as EVERYTHING was closed. everyone was at home with their family having their ‘reunion’ dinner like us chinese during CNY’s eve. 

we really didn’t expect it to be like this coz we assumed that things would be more ‘happenin’ here since Christmas is such a big thing here. we thought there’d be street parties, fireworks and stuff like that, but… guess we were wrong. the celebrations in Malaysia is such a big contrast now to how Slovaks celebrate Christmas. it’s without a doubt a much much more quiet event here than back home and nothing like what we expected. it’s sort of a bit like an anti-climax for us… the talk and atmosphere were all built up for Christmas, and then when the time comes for the big bang – all of a sudden there’s … nothing; silence – no parties, no fireworks, no loud cheers/laughter in the streets, not even carol singers! 

confused a bit now; i honestly don’t know which i’d prefer – i was afraid that there might be loud fireworks at midnight that might rouse Arielle from her slumber; but what’s happening now was the furthest thing on my mind. i suppose in a way, it’s good not to have any distractions. that way we can really focus on the reason for Christmas in the first place – our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth, His life, His sacrifice on the Cross, His Gift of Eternal Life; and how these have impacted and changed the lives of those who have come to believe in Him.