Monday, December 26, 2005


It looks like my memory is still okay ☺. I could still recall this.

Monday, 16 May 2005. I went to see the gynaecologist with respect to the result of the specimens from the D and C that I had 2 weeks ago. Sigh! Not so good. This was one unwelcome promotion. I had been promoted from a simple (in 2003) to a complex endometrial hyperplasia. The medical report stated that this was recurrence and with a risk of developing cancer of the endometrium in the future in addition to my problem of prolonged p.v. bleeding, a hysterectomy was recommended. We agreed it would be done on Thursday.

Thursday, 19 May 2005. I understood from the Monday meeting that the hysterectomy would be performed under general anaesthesia. Another general anaesthesia – my memory will definitely suffer, I thought. However, on checking into the hospital, the anaesthetist explained to me that the hysterectomy would be approached vaginally under spinal anaesthesia. I would be mentally conscious during the operation. I don’t know what the impact on my mentality capability would be if it was a general anaesthesia (the last one being only less than 2 weeks ago).

Already afraid of the thought of my uterus being taken out and worsened by another fear of my spine being poked by a needle, I could not stop myself shivering on the operating table. The fear for my spinal cord was worse than the fear for my uterus. The gynaecologist took my hands in his warm hands and reassured me that there was nothing to be afraid of. Only after the anaesthetist had finished injecting into my spine that I felt a little better. I felt dumbness slowly filled and enveloped the entire lower part of my body until I totally lost sensibility of it. I could not lift my legs. I could not move my toes. It was as if they were dead. So this was what spinal anaesthesia felt like. The operation was a success.

Thank you, uterus, for your service to me. You have nourished my 2 beautiful children when they were just forming. I know you have to go. Byeeeeeee!! I am happy you are going because I can wear white clothing anytime now without worrying about staining them.

What a place to be in to celebrate Miri's status change from a town to a city tomorrow - 20 May 2005.

I have enough of D and C

Never bothered to know the exact words of the abbreviation until I needed and experienced that myself, not just once but three times. Could not even catch what the words that the gynaecologist was saying. As usual, I went to my books for information. D and C, in medical terms, is dilation and curettage.

Thursday, 28 August 2003. I was bleeding continually for 18 days. As a diagnostical and a therapeutical remedy, a D and C procedure was done. Specimens submitted to the laboratory showed features of simple/cystic endometrial hyperplasia. More medical terms, which I understood as unhealthy cells, which would become cancerous, if untreated. That was frightening. I was at the risk of developing cancer in my uterus!!

I watched the doctor administered the general anaesthetic injection and saw him walked out of the operating theatre. I didn’t feel sleepy or drowsy at all. I thought I was fully awake all the time. I saw the nurse moving about in the room, cleaning, and wondered why the doctor had not returned. I asked the nurse “when is the doctor going to operate?” The nurse looked at me “it is already done”.

That was not the end of my experience with the D and C. The gynaecologist would perform another D and C after I have completed a 6-month hormone replacement therapy. The cause of my menstruation period gone hare-wired and the unusual bleeding was a drop in my progesterone hormone. The next D and C was necessary to ensure that there were no more unhealthy cells and eliminated.

Thursday, 25 March 2004. Like the first D and C in August 2003, it was all over before I realised it – smooth and painless, thanks to the general anaesthesia, although it takes at least 2-3 hours to wear off the drowsiness effect of it.

Friday, 6 May 2005. Was it the emotional stress of a deteriorating husband-wife relation or was it the emotional and physical stress of moving house from one city to another that contributed to my hormone imbalance this time? Or simply, was my body entering the pre-menopausal stage? Specimens showed that the oestrogen output in my ovary was okay and no trichomonas or yeasts detected. I was not menopausing. I did not have any fibroids in my uterus, neither was I infected with any venereal diseases in my reproductive organs. So what’s wrong with me? My periods were still irregular and I was still experiencing indefinite bouts of unusual discharge and bleeding.

The new gynaecologist that I saw in the new city suggested the same remedy to my medical problem – a D and C. What! Another one? Third time in barely 2 years’ period!! Another general anaesthesia – is that why I think my memory is not as good as before????? I am grateful to say that was the last D and C.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What a Joke!!

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Sunday – carolling at the Old Folks’ home and the Blind Centre.
Tuesday - carolling at the Girls' (juvenile delinquents) home.
Wednesday - carolling at church members' homes.

Tonight we have agreed to meet as usual. Helen had picked me up for the last 3 evenings and she will pick me again tonight. This is our last night for this year. I had not taken any photos but tonight I intended to. Each time she would horn to signal that she is outside my gate, I would drop everything I did and run out of the main door. This evening I decided to wait for her outside the gate. I noticed her big smile ☺ when she came. I had waited for about 15 minutes. We were looking forward to meeting the others.

I opened the back seat door and sat. Before Helen even started to move the car, Gloria, whom I sat next to, exclaimed “Irene, Benedict just smsed “carolling is cancelled tonight”. What? Did I hear correctly? We all looked at each other in disbelief, with our eyes wide opened for a moment and then laughed. I said “okay, looks like I better get out the car”. And so I got up and said “good-bye” to all the four in the car!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

April Fool's Day - A Blessing in Disguise!

First day of the fourth moon in the year 1987. It was just like any other working day. We were all busy trying to clear as much work as possible. I had a report to type. About an hour before the closing hour, I have done over 10 pages. The next pages were tables and so I decided to back up my working diskette and type the tables tomorrow. In those days, the diskettes did not come formatted and so I have to format it.

You guess right? Instead of formatting a new diskette so that I could diskcopy my working diskette, I formatted my working diskette!! And of course all the 10 pages plus were deleted.

Blame my hands – they are too efficient!! I was stunned. I wanted to cry but no tears came out. I just could not believe what I have done!! And it had to happen on an April Fool’s Day. How could I ever forget this day?

I was restless at home. I knew I would not be able to sleep that night. With the encouragement from my husband I decided to go back to the office and retype whatever I could.

The big office was so quiet. There was no telephone ringing, no interference of staff moving in and out and so I was able to concentrate on my typing. I have never typed as accurate and fast as I did that night. While typing, the desire of sitting for the LCCI Higher Typing Certificate struck me hard. Because my Shorthand Typist course was only a year course in 1972, the highest level of typing certificate I was qualified to sit for was the LCCI Intermediate Stage. I had passed my proficiency but failed my speed test!! The thought of resitting to obtain a speed certificate or a higher stage never cross my mind then.

Immediately after that April Fool's Day in the office, I enrolled myself in a commercial school and faithfully attended classes after work. Nobody cared if I was the oldest student there! Who cared anyway? I wanted that certificate! Yes I got it at the end of 1987 – LCCI Higher Typewriting Certificate with the following results listed: Typewriting (Proficiency) (Distinction); Typewriting (Speed) (pass) 61 wpm; Typewriting (Accuracy) (pass) 99%.

If I have not formatted my working diskette that April Fool's afternoon, which in turn pushed me to return to the office to type that night, I would never have thought about obtaining that certificate! Wasn’t it a blessing in disguise?

Working for an International Company

When my Form 5 teacher announced that I was selected into the vocational school for a shorthand typist course, I was so thrilled. Early that year, I had submitted my application (just because the others did it) and then forgot all about it. Never having flown in an aeroplane before and so, the reality of that dream itself was sheer joy. The vocational school was the only one in the state and it was 55 minutes by Boeing. I was also blessed with monthly allowance from the government as well.

Course started in January, a month plus to go. It is end-of- year school holiday and so I joined my friends to work as daily paid labourers for a Housing Company. It was one of the companies that were offering jobs to school leavers. We didn’t have to carry bricks or cement. We didn’t have to handle any heavy work related to the construction of the houses. We were assigned to pull the weeds, installed the window panes and all other small odds jobs but nothing heavy. The boss knew that we were only there to earn some pocket money during the holidays and so he was good to us. We had fun riding on his trailers! We were just teenagers!!

Being a resident in a town where most of the people work for an international company, the first thing when I graduated and came home from the vocational school was to apply for a job there. I remembered my first letter as dated 21 January 1973, in response to an advertisement in the newspaper. Understandably I was rejected. How could a shorthand-typist be accepted as a Production Technical Trainee? In fact I didn’t care what type of job I could do or what type of job I was suitable for. I was willing to take up any work, even if it is a trainee job, so long as I could enter the company, gain some experience and earn some money.

Letters after letters of application of other vacancies in the company were sent – stenographer, geological laboratory assistant, punch operator, data controller, computer terminal operator, clerk, typist – all unsuccessful. I was called for interviews and tests only for the stenographer, punch operator and typist posts – all unsuccessful.

I also wrote to the different government departments but were unsuccessful as well. Where was my lucky star? It appeared in July 1973. Yes! The zodiac month I was born! My application to a government project was accepted. I got employed as a Data Processor cum Report Typist, where I remained until May 1974 when the project ended.

They said “if you don’t succeed the first time, try and try again, don’t give up”. That was true with my application into the international company. While I was working for the government project, I didn’t stop applying into the international company. I was finally offered temporary employment as a Temporary Clerk on the 16 December 1974. It took me 23 months of persistent application!! Thanks to my mother for her unquenchable faith in me for without it I would have called it quits sooner. ☺I must have done something good in my previous life!!☺

I must have been a good worker too because the offer was changed to regular employment as a Technical Assistant on the 1 April 1975 – it was not an April’s Fool day for me! There was an April’s Fool day for me – read that in a posting of the same name!

Working for an international company was very interesting and fun. I got to interact with people from other countries, like England, France, Holland, Australia, USA, Nigeria, Norway, Burma, etc. etc. It helped me to appreciate other nationalities, no more a frog under a coconut shell!

From the post of a technical Assistant, I had other exposures working as administrative clerk/supervisor/assistant, secretary, staff resource development assistant, recruitment administrator and lastly a document controller until 23 September 1996 when I decided to say goodbye to the company that I have worked for 21 years and 9 months.

It was here that I was introduced to the electrical brain (the ‘computer’ in Chinese) in 1987 for the very first time and fell in love with it. I could type faster with it, no need to use blanco to hide my errors. I don’t have to flip the handle of the carriage to go to a new line of my paper, as I did with my manual Olivetti typewriter when I started in 1974! I don’t have to type on a dirty stencil to reproduce multiple copies! Just a touch of the key will do. It gets better and easier from then on with improved technology, equipment and facilities.

What else? Well, I got to attend 38 courses (including the introduction to personal computer). That was one of the many many blessings. I regarded all benefits as blessings. So why did I leave? Many people said I was stupid. My mother said I was out of my mind.

I am thankful for my mother’s love and faith in me. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with this wonderful international company and the many blessings I received during those years with it.

For every thing turn turn turn. There is a season turn turn turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born. A time to be die. It is time for me to move on. I was burned out, tired and fed up. I wanted to experience other ‘lives’. And yes! I have and will.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Monday, 19 December

A friend said she wanted me to come to her place to discuss some matters.

To the least of my expectations, she handed me a box and ask me to open it and this is what I got - a Christmas present - Nativity.

It is not a porcelain plate, not a Corning ware, not a Pyrex ware.

Just an ordinary plate turned special with the sticker of the fairies!

Surprise package: Dried flowers, sent all the way from Australia, by a person I only met and known for 2 days in Kota Kinabalu!

It really made my day!

Mid LIfe Crisis

Monday, 19 December 2005

What is mid-life? Middle of your life? How long is one's life?
What is crisis? A crucial or decisive moment? A turning point"
A time of difficulty or distress?

The sea has been rough. One giant wave after another. Pulling one's roots up to replant them into another soil. Failed marriage. Youngest child left home to study elsewhere. Hormonal imbalance. Major physical operation. Father sick and died. Readapting to a new settlement.

Nothing is more depressing than a marriage gone wrong. No wonder divorcement is listed as one of life's top crisis.

Personally, falling in love, getting married, becoming a mother, family life and commitments and everything else that evolves around the family unit is the most satisfying journey and experience in one's life. What went wrong with mine? They said it takes two to tango. I guess I have failed on my part as well.

I thought I have lots of friends but when you arrive at this platform, you realised who are the real friends. When you got everything running smoothly in your life, they are happy to be associated with you but when you are in the midst of a personal crisis (yes a crisis) they seem to be in hiding. Why do I feel they are shunning me as if I am a plague? Am I a bad influence? I did not commit adultery. I did not kill anyone. I did not violate the laws of the land.

Some women chose to suffer in silence. They hold on their marriages and let their husbands abuse them physically and emotionally. Regardless of the hell they live in, within the four walls of their homes, they want to be known as 'married', instead of being 'separated' or 'divorced'. They are scare that the world will look down on them.

They opted for divorcement. Lawyers would tell them "you have tolerated him for the last so and so years, why bother now? Be patient" What he is trying to say is "close your eyes (not one but both), let it be, you are too old to start a new life with anyone else"

Religious lawyers would advise "pray". These lawyers should become priests! And so the women would go home and pray, pray, pray. These religious lawyers never knew why the women did not come back to them. Not because their prayers have been answered, their marriages restored but because they have gone to another laywer. They have come to the lawyers to ask them to take up their case, fight for them but instead told to pray instead!! They forgot they are lawyers not priests!

Agreeements signed but the men failed to pay alimony. The wives went to see their lawyers, paid them to chase their ex husbands. After doing that month after month, the women got fed up and stop pestering the lawyers.

The world says "it is normal for a man to have extra martial affairs" "he is not a man if he does not have that passion" and so they post their profiles in the internet seeking out younger females for romance, relationship. Worst of all they are not ashamed to reveal their marital status as "attached".

Where are religions, morals, values? What will happen to the innocent children who look up to their parents for direction and role models? What will happen to the world?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Enlightened Perspective

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

I like the enlightened perspective, that was compiled by Andy Rooney, very much. Someone forwarded to me through the e-mail. If only I could tell Andy that those words that he wrote, rang so true, for me. Thank you very much, Andy. If I have made any mistakes typing them out here, please excuse my carelessness and please correct me.

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

That when you are in love, it shows.

That just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

That being kind is more important than being right.

That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

That money doesn’t buy class.

That it is those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

That the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

That love, not time, heals all wounds.

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

That there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.

That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.

That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

That when you newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Don't Ever Frighten an Inexperienced Old Lady Driver!!

Saturday, 16 July 2005

There were 4 of us, myself (driver), Gloria (Young Woman), Kevin (Young Men Quorum Leader) and Billy (Young Man). We were going to investigate the suitability of the Soon Hup Villa, a mountain resort, for the Church's youth camp. Billy would guide us since the rest of us had never been there.

I was scare to drive in unfamiliar places, but for the sake of the youth, I would do it!! Never knew that it would turn out to be the most frightening driving experience in my 50 years' life! The other frightening ride was as a passenger, going up a winding road to Cameron Highlands in West Malaysia years ago.

It took about 25 km (on the main tarred road) from our church meeting house at Pujut 1 to the junction of the road leading to the Soon Hup Villa. It took another 6 km (not tarred yet) from there to reach the entrance of the resort.

The entrance of the resort was in the shape of a fish's mouth. Driving through the gate was like into the mouth of a big fish. And that reminded me of the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.

We came to a cleared flat area where a big house sat (which I understoood later as the reception, restaurant and also the first Soon Hup villa which has 10 twin-sharing rooms. We asked Billy whether we should disembark there and seek information.. He said "not yet, still a long way, see that slope, we have to follow it". It was a slope alright, like the slope at Taman Selera, going Tanjong Lobang. The road was made of earth and small stones and I could see the width was good enough for a big tourist bus only and it was one way!!

What frightened me was because, as I was gaining height I could not see what was in front of me. The surrounding sceneries were indeed beautiful and peaceful - green trees everywhere. Kevin took pictures when we stopped at some flat ground. I lost count of how many hills we had to drive up and down because I had my full attention (and energy) on the road. Gloria, who was sitting in front, felt the same. Both of us keep on asking Billy "where is the information centre" "why the roads like this?" Actually we had passed the information centre - the first villa. Billy coolly answered "we are going to visit the waterfall, this is the last hill". I look at the slope in front of me. It was the steepest amongst the ones that I have driven over!! I would think (or see, if my poor eyesight did not deceive me) that it was not 45 degrees slope but less than that. There was no turning back - one way!. There was no area for that unless you reverse all the way, up and down!!!! You either sit there and cry (wouldn't solve anything) or go. I am thankful to Heavenly Father that our Madza made it!!

We stopped at the parking space, leading to the waterfall, for a few mintues. Kevin, Gloria and Billy walked to the waterfall which is a few 100 yards away while I took the opportunity to talk to some people whose clothes were wet and getting change to leave in their trooper and saloon car. They told me they like to come often to the waterfall because it is clean and peaceful. They also told me that they have no problem driving the hilly road. They have gotten used to the road since they come often. I admired the mother of the family taking the wheels.

When Billy came back, I asked him whether there is another way back. "No", he said, "we have to go back the way we came". I was worried about encountering an oncoming car. The father of the family, whom I talked to, at the parking lot at the waterfall, said we have to adjust to the sides - that is frightening and dangerous. Both sides drop down into the valley!! Within the vicinity of the waterfall is another building which we drove past. All we wanted to do was to get out of the place. I did not have the mood to check it out and neither did Gloria or Kevin. I found out later that it was the 3rd villa, where there are 8 rooms (each room could accommodate up to 10 people or more) and 1 big hall. It was suitable for a youth camp but thinking about going there???????

Amazingly, I was not as tense driving back as I was going foward. Billy suggested I used the first gear when we were driving towards the waterfall. I did, driving very slowly because like I said earlier I could not see what is ahead. However, I had to the courage to use 2nd gear on returning and you could imagine what a relief it was for me to arrive at the 1st villa.

The Soon Hup resort has 3 villas, situated in different locations in the area. It is actually a nice place for a retrest, but when I think of the road leading from the 1st villa to the 3rd villa (waterfall) I don't know. From the 1st villa I could see the National Service camp and the participants doing some kind of activity. They look like ants!!

The big fish vomitted Jonah out to the dry land. We drove out of the fish's belly and out of his mouth!! I don't want to drive there again!!

Lift Confusion!

Monday, 27 March 2000

On the 2nd floor of Api-Api apartments, I wanted to go to the 3rd floor to visit Elder/Sister Broadhead. When I was in the lift I forgot that I was still on the 2nd floor after visiting President/Sister Spencer and that I had to press "3" but instead I pressed "2". Of course the lift remained still! So I pressed "G" and the guide said the lift is working alright. I went in the lift again and press "2" again (and not "3"!!). Came out of the lift and walk towards the apartment which I thought to be Elder/Sister Broadhead. It looks different (I have been there many times, I know which turn to take, I know how it looked from the outside) - my head must be going crazy! I looked at the number - it read 2305 and only then I realised that I wanted 3305 and 3305 is on the 3rd floor!!

Check your footwear!

Sunday, 17 July 2005

Here goes again!! Why was I in a hurry? I should be growing more graceful as I grow older!
I had the gate of my home opened and drove the car into the parking lot. Got out my purse, car key and handphone. There was something missing - the house key! I have left the house before my husband. Have I forgotten to take it out? How am I going to enter the house? I was about to use the handphone to call him (he has gone out) when I realised that if I have not taken out the house key, how could I have opened the gate and close the gate when I went out earlier? The main door key is ringed together with the gate key and the gate key could only be taken out only after the lock is in place!!! I have not close my gate yet!!

December 1993
My mother, my 2 children (12 and 7 years old) and myself were on holiday in Melbourne! My 2 nieces, Serena and Nicole, would be performing. We were all looking forward to the evening and we would be going in 2 cars. Their father would be driving one car and their mother (who is my sister) would be driving another. I don't remember which car I got in. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry, including myself. I, for one, love dancing, so I was really looking forward to seeing the girls dance. They were 11 and 8 years old respectively. So in I went to the car and off we went to the concert hall. It was when I was walking into the hall that I realised I was still using the furry-like house slippers on!!! I loved the slippers. It is so soft and cosy. In that moment of hurry and excitement, I have forgotten to change my footwear. And they were pink in colour!!. I felt so embarrassed even though they said nobody will look and nobody care. i felt like a clown. My little angel, Lyanne, saved me. She said "Mum, I use yours, you use mine". I cannot remember what type of footwear she had that night but it must be something that she has picked from the shoe rack and it fits me!!

Sleep Walking in the daylight!

Friday, 15 July 2005

As usual, in the morning, after buying the newspaper from a sundry shop, I walked back. I have done this for the past 2 months so I know the road well and which juntion to turn to my home. However, on this particular morning, my mind was travelling far far away and it affected my sense of direction! I walked past my junction, the next junction until I reach the end of the road that curves and that is when I woke up!! Where am I? I only realised then I have missed my junction. No wonder when I passed the food stall (which has not opened for business yet) I thought this is new to me!!

When you don't know, it is okay!

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

It is just over 5 weeks after my hysterectomy operation. This is the first time, after the operation, that I drove myself (my beloved daughter has been my driver since the operation). I had a nice flora-printed blouse on. Only if you look closely you would see the difference between the right and the wrong side. On this particular day, I had worn the blouse inside/out to the Madza workshop, the wet market and 2 of my friends' houses (one of which my dance teacher happened to be visiting), picked my daughter from her workplace at the Miri Crescent Kidney Dialysis Centre and drove to my mother's place in Lutong for dinner. That is when my youngest sister-in-law asked me whether I knew that I had worn the wrong side of the blouse!!!!

Mystery Angpow!

Tuesday, 19 December 2000, January 2001

My mum (Miri) had passed me angpows (Chinese New Yea Red Packets) of 20 MRinggit each for her maternal grandchildren, Lyanne and Anthony. Could not trace 1 angpow back at the hotel where my family has lodged. Supposed to be 4 angpows (2 from their grandma and 2 from their eldest maternal Aunty-in-law) but can only locate 3! Phoned grandma who said nothing was left behind. Next morning grandma gave me the missing angpow which she said was on the floor near her bedroom door! I was sure I had that in my bag and brought it back with me to Kota Kinabalu. However during the Chinese New Year 2001, I found only 3 angpows! It is gone again!

Sun Block for the night?

Sometime in 2000

In my apartment, Beverly Hills, after bath one evening and after toning my face, instead of putting the night cream, I used the sun block instead!! I took the wrong tube and realised the mistake only after I had them on!!