The biggest news in town was how a mom was held-up and her car motor napped (some news had her kidnapped) right after dropping off her kids at school.  The same school our boys go to.

I confess, when I learned who was involved – my first thought was … it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.  I don’t actively wish the worst for her and she is not in my thoughts but we had an unfriendly encounter 3 years ago and every time I see her I avoid her.  Let’s just say, I don’t like her.

And then today, the incident took on a different turn.  It seems there was no crime at all.  It seems that she knew the man who got into her car.  The circumstance of his getting into the car was probably suspicious thus the other drivers/parents alerted the authorities when she sped off with the man.  

It seems to be that she is (maybe was?) having an affair with this man.  How the police found out that they went to a motel and stayed there for an hour, I do not know.  But the local papers recounted the events that happened after the alleged kidnapping and the police say that this does not seem to be a kidnapping and definitely not a motor napping.  She was dropped off at her home a few hours after bystanders alerted the police and her car was found parked a couple streets near her home.

Well, gee.  That is a terrible way for an affair to be exposed.  It’s like everything is secret and boom!  Now everyone knows.  

Still, I feel no sympathy for her.  

Oh, and her husband works abroad.  I wonder if this news will reach her husband?



Seeds are from a pod that grows like a scythe. I rarely see them. Maybe once in two years. And I only got one seed pod from the past 8 yrs of these bonsais. And I was not successful in harvesting the seeds. Maybe too immature?

Some Countries

I love to travel.  And every year we do go out at least once to experience other cultures.

But there are countries I have NO desire to visit.  I have never been to these countries and I will NEVER willingly go to these countries, not even for a transit stay.

Because I am an educated woman used to mingling freely with men and treating them as equals.  Because I love color and I love to wear shorts when it’s hot or humid.  Because I love wearing sleeveless shirts and blouses.  Because I can not eat spicy food.  And because I am afraid when I read about how they treat foreign born citizens/ residents of their countries.

Not even having great duty free shopping or having the most extravagant hotel or the tallest building or being “Truly Asia” or having exquisite beaches will tempt me to visit their countries.  And a motorcycle tour next year sponsored by a royal member did not even make me pause for a second to even consider it.  No thanks for me, I told O.  Go if you want – I told him but I am not stepping foot in that country.

The latest incident involving a Norwegian woman who was “pardoned” for being the victim only reinforced my belief.


Back to the Wife

Somebody saw my cousin walking hand in hand with her ex-husband in the mall.

The ex-husband experimented with illegal drugs, dated several young ladies while still married to my cousin and while the annulment was still being processed, lived with one young enough to be his daughter.  He even went around and introduced the lady as his fiancée.

But I guess cousin really loves ex-husband because when the drugs addled his brain which resulted in some brushes with the law and the eventual drying up of his bank account which of course led to fiancee dumping him – it was cousin who took care of him and booked him in a rehab center, paid for the fees and visited him every month.

I have seen so many couples like that.  In the end, the broken husband returns to the wife left behind and the wife always accepts him.  It is how it is in our culture.

Another cousin says, it is so easy to see the erring partner’s fault but we never know how it is if you are the one living with the erring partner.  We wonder why after being left for another woman, wife will still accept husband back.  Sometimes love forgives all.  Sometimes it is the shared history that makes one partner forgiving.  We will never know. And I hope I will never know.

Empathy Can Be Developed

I was happy when I overheard one staffer’s conversation with a customer this afternoon.  She asked where the customer was from and gave tips on how to make it easier to pick up the documents she requested.  Hearing her concern for the customer’s travel expense and time made me smile.

I remember several years ago when I reprimanded this specific staffer.  A customer who lived a 2-hr bus travel away came to inquire about some important papers she needed to process a permit.  And this staffer told her to come back the following day since she had to dig up customer’s files.  I intervened and told customer that we could just contact her by phone or text and she could send an authorized friend/relative to pick up the documents so as not to waste so much travel time.

When the customer left, I reprimanded my girls.  I told them that they should put themselves in these customer’s shoes.  Wouldn’t they be exasperated or maybe even angry when told to return after traveling so far?  The girls countered that the customers said it was ok for them to return.  And I replied – These are simple folks.  What do you think they will reply?  They are resigned to what you say but do you think they enjoy spending time away from their farms, traveling for 4 hours (back and forth) for something you are not even guaranteeing could be found?  Just because they say ok, does not mean that they are ok.

Today, I am happy that they finally got it.  There is hope for them.

How Does One Dispose of Photos?

Almost a year since my mom passed away, I finally get to her photos and documents/files.  Clothes and shoes were the first and the easiest to dispose.  Decorative stuff and music were also a breeze.  I felt the saddest with her jewelry but I was still able to handle it. 

But now as I look at my mom’s recipes written in her handwriting, her personal notes, her photos, her speeches – also in her handwriting, I find it so difficult to go through it.  Not the same as with her jewelry.  I was sad because I know she loved her jewelry.  This one is different because seeing mom’s handwriting is even more personal than handling her jewelry.  A different kind of difficult.  The first time about 4 months ago I opened these files, I couldn’t bear to look at her notes.  I put it off.  And this afternoon I went through it again.  It was a bit easier now but I don’t know.  It’s still difficult.  Looking at her notes, especially the later part when she was already diagnosed, I kept reliving her last few months.

Then there are the old photos of my mom with her friends, with us and with other relatives.  Those that are special, I have already kept.  But  what do I do with all those snapshots that were snapped because you just had to have snaps of your vacation time?  It didn’t mean anything, it doesn’t look special – I still can’t bear to throw it away. I set it aside for when I know how to dispose of it.

After several months of putting off disposing of mom’s personal notes, this afternoon I started tearing the many speeches she wrote.  A lot of recipes that I know I will never create.  Side notes to articles she clipped.  Sayings she obviously found relevant because she copied it in her own hand  (many about death and living a full life).  It was slow progress.  Every time I saw her handwriting I felt a pang.

This part will probably take me several months.  This is the last of her general personal effects.  Then after I pare it down to those that we will keep, I will start the process again with the clothes and the shoes and the accessories, until I pare it down to one big box.  That is my goal.

But I still don’t know how I will dispose of mom’s old photos that aren’t really special.

Volatility … Passion?

A couple we know are known for their very volatile relationship.  When they fight, boy do they fight.  It doesn’t matter if they are in public, voices are raised, shouting even and hurtful words said but thankfully no physical violence.  And when they are in sweetness mode, the ants have a heck of a field day picking up the overflow of sweetness.

Is this what people mean when they talk about passion?  Very strong emotions involved?  I don’t think it’s healthy.  But I guess when they are in the love mode they forget all the past hurts.  Theirs is probably the kind of love that gets talked about and can be the basis of a great love story.  The kind where you can’t live with each other but can’t also live without each other.  

My aunts had a description for this kind of relationship: Great Good , Great Bad.  When times are good then it’s really good but when times get bad, then its really really bad.  Understandably the commonly accepted dictum among the older generation Chinese is that this is not the preferred relationship.  The older generation looked upon a harmonious even relationship as the better option.   

But watching them one time, I can see that the man does care about the woman in how he prepared her stuff and tolerated her occasional nitpicking.  And I could see the woman also looked after her man when she got him coffee and understood his idiosyncracies.

Their kind of relationship is not for me.  My good friend Pin and I had this conversation a long way back.  Stimulating conversation or passionate lovemaking.  We both agreed that we preferred the conversation.  Sure passionate lovemaking is great but it gets really tiring if I have it everyday. (Speaking from experience. *wink* )  But stimulating conversation is something I can imagine having everyday.

It works for them though.  They have been together more than 20 years and married for 19.  Who am I to say what should or should not be?  To each his own.  




An incident with one of our business suppliers reminded me again that I shouldn’t be complacent with anything.

I wasn’t like this 10 years ago.  I gave my loyalty to a supplier and I accommodated their requests to the best of my ability.  And then business being business, policies changed.  Management changed.  The economic landscape changed.  They were still honorable to deal with but I was hurt at some of their actions.  Objectively speaking though, they were just doing their job.

My mentor chided me, there is no place for loyalty in business.  You can give it if you want to but do not expect it.  Friendship likewise is fleeting.  Business is about getting a good deal and finding the company you can do business with fairly and honorably.

I was resistant to his views at first.  I was naïve, I believed in friendship beyond business.  But after a decade or so, I now no longer stress myself out when suppliers’ policies are in conflict with ours.  I used to laugh when an executive in a supply company replied to my friend G who reminded the executive that the friendship between G and the supply company went a long way back; Executive told him “We are not friends, we are business partners”.  I used to laugh at that insulting reply.  But now that I think about it, they really are not my friends.  I should just treat them as business partners.

This afternoon, I didn’t get mad when they required additional surety before they would ship our orders.  I simply realized that we had to find other suppliers in order to have more options.  It was time to open up the horizons.  I had come to rely on this particular supplier for quite some time.  They treated us well in the past decade after a rough patch in the 90s.  I realized that what is there to guarantee that the next decade will not see a change of attitude and relationships again?

Don’t be mad, their coordinator beseeches me.  I’m not mad, I tell him.  Just a bit exasperated that I have to put in extra work building up new relationships with other suppliers.  In fact I told him, in a way I am glad this happened.  I can not be complacent.  I can not be static.  We have to adapt with the situations on hand.

I am reminded.  I can not be complacent.  Not in business.  Not in love.  And certainly not in life.

Would God Have Approved?

I have seen many basilicas and cathedrals all over the world.  In Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, Paris, New York …  But several months ago, when we were in Milan, the Duomo completely took my breath away.  Admittedly it is beautiful but the first thought that went through my mind as I beheld the pinkish marble that made up the whole facade of the Duomo and the intricate marble lacework all over – the first thought was that such opulence is so scandalously a disservice to the inherent message of God and Jesus.


I am not a practising Catholic but I was baptized and was educated by the Jesuits.  The same order that Pope Francis belongs to.  The same pope who said it pained him when he saw priests and nuns driving flashy cars and carrying the latest mobile phone.

I like to live simply.  We do not deny ourselves the basic and I do not scrimp on my needs.  But except for Brunhilde, none of our purchases come even close to being labeled luxurious.  

And so as I beheld the duomo, I imagined the 14th century Princes of the Church, them in their ermine cloaks and velvet shoes, taxing peasants just to build this opulent church.  True it is magnificent, but doing so in the name of God seems like a travesty of what Catholicism stands for.

I went inside.  I said a little prayer for Pope Francis.  I looked around at the stained glasses ( my boy said that their stained glass windows were like High Definition compared to the local stained glasses), I looked at the altar – I couldn’t stop mentally shaking my head.

Though I did not reach the point of disgust, I was very bothered.

And that is why I no longer am a practising Catholic.  The faith is there.  It is just the bureaucracy that has turned me off.  I know the new pope will not be able to take on the entrenched Catholic hierarchy but with him, my spirituality is slowly returning.  Though I may still not believe in bishops, I have hope that maybe our local catholic hierarchy will remember the simplicity that Jesus taught.

Omnia Mea Mecum Porto.