Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Bird’s Grandma Has Kicked The Bucket

Whilst I am sad that Bird’s grandma has passed away last Thursday at a ripe old age of 90, I am also relieved that this grand old dame is no longer suffering physical pain.

As with Chinese Taoist Teochew funerals, Bird and Chicken started chatting about the funeral rites with me. I was unable to attend the wake to pay my respects as I am “pantang” – this means that I am sensitive to death events such as wakes, or visiting the sick or celebrating birthdays as it represents “white” and “red” events.

In a believe it or not saga, I have found out that if I attend any of these events, I get very ill and have to be hospitalised and so I insulate self by avoiding these events.

I offer condolences in my heart to Bird and my good friends understand as they have seen it happen to me.

Back to the dramas of the grand and lavish 5 day funeral wake,

Bird texted me to say that the network of the living has extended the tentage for visitors to pay their last respects, spanning 2 football fields.

Sit down dinner is catered for the visitors nightly.

Chanting of sutras for the late Ah Ma starts from morning daily and they even have stilt walkers, band playing, besides the all day feasting.

One of the traditions of helping the decedent cross over to the heavenly realm is the crossing of a makeshift bridge at the site of where the cortege lies.

Women relatives of the decedent must be “clean” without menstruation to be allowed onto the bridge. Otherwise, these women relatives must walk under the bridge.

We opined that this must be something to do with uncleanliness to prevent the decedent to cross over.

As each male or female relative crosses this symbolic bridge some 30 times per night, they would have to throw either coins, flowers or hell notes or incense papers.

The 3 of us (as you can tell by now, we are not great at customary funeral rites and will try to make sense of things) hazarded the reasons for the following items thrown:-

Coins – for the spirits in need of cash

Flowers – for the female ghosts who may want the male decedent and not let go

Incense papers – symbolic of money to bribe the officers of nederworld or triads

Hell notes – money to pay the hungry ghosts or bribes

Teochew Kueh – pink colored rice cakes made of glutinous rice to feed the hungry

Traditions at funerals are best followed to avoid arguments or quarrels and Bird is so tired as she takes morning shift.

May Bird’s Ah Ma rest in peace as she has lived a rich and wonderful life.

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Arm Chair Directors, The Bane Of My Family!

 I face a lot of arm chair directors in my family. I agree it is always easier to put rocks and stones in front of anyone’s path instead of offering viable options to for any given situation so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

However, with arm chair directors, their mission is to thwart whatever good I am trying to resolve by asking ridiculously inane questions.

I present the situation.

Inter ceiling concrete slab of the upper floor to lower floor shows a water leakage.

I get our regular contractor to attend to it and the water proofing specialist suggests grouting. I am of the opinion that the water proofing membrane is already worn off (more than 17 years) and that the reasonable solution is to hack up the flooring of the toilet above and knowing full well that the toilet fittings will be ruined in the process.

Grouting is a short-term solution as water travels to other parts of the building.

Up rises the despot – arm chair director Bro who starts the interrogation.

“Turn off all taps to identify the leak. Turn it off for 5 days” he texted in the group chat with Sis, Contractor and me.

“And where would we all stay for 5 days without water?” I asked.

My question is ignored as he hammers on, “turn it off for 5 days, no one uses it and let the area dry naturally on its own” he continued.

“How will this help?” I replied.

Again, my question is ignored and he continues, “ I see rust stains on the wall” [contractor attached a photo of where the leak was] “steel bars and concrete slabs are affected”

Flustered and frustrated, “ If you want a scan of the entire building, then please call the professional builders in and certified engineers to review the physical structure of the building – steel bars, concrete slabs!”

“Do you want to take over the repairs?” I challenged him. I know that he is in Hong Kong and as arm chair director, he will not make any effort to assist but will instructs.

“Will you 2 chip in and pay for the repairs? Budget is $15,000 to hack up the toilet and replace with tiles, sink, toilet bowl etc.” I knew that money is the crux and whenever I raise money to be paid, silence will  ensue.

True enough both sis and bro skirted the issue of money and I asked why can’t 3 of us chip in and pay for the repairs? Silence is deafening really!

So I spoke up, “ Again, I ask, are you coming to solve the repairs? If so, instruct me to STOP and I will withdraw with my contractor and you take over? If not, I am paying for it in full to fix it and get it over and done with before more damage is faced.

Arm Chair Director shoots back a text, “Dad will pay for it”

My 2 idiotic siblings will never fork out a penny to assist the family. It is always for their own benefit only.

My sister has conveniently watched the messages that truncated without a word till the money part came and she said on text, “ let her proceed.”

Of course let me proceed right as afterall they are not going to share cost and they are darn lucky that I have to pay for it!

Sheesh! I hate Arm Chair Directors and I have 2 of them in my family.

Now I have to get the spare cash stashed in socks or chop change….Gaaarrrfield open your purses and no more lasagna for you as we are both on an austerity package till then! LOL!


A Morning Conversation With Bird & Chicken Via Whats App Messaging

Chicken is an early riser as she has a family to feed and so she will always be up at the crack of dawn to be at the wet market to buy fresh food for the week’s consumption.

She is lucky in that her “man” (her husband) will always accompany her and both man and wife will be at the market selecting fresh fish, veggies and meats.

Bird as usual will be a late riser and we used to tease her that she will only rise when the sun rays hit her buttocks! This is our colloqual local saying to describe a lazy fella!

Bird’s grandma, who is aged 90 is on her death bed. She has been ill for the last 20 years and yet, has the strong will to continue living on.

Bird has been anticipating her death for the last 20 years but Grandma has outlived 2 of her sons, including Bird’s pa.

Of late, Bird’s grandma is in bad shape. Both her legs are gangrenous and her whole body is swollen. The doctors who are giving her palliative home care has predicted her death to occur 10 day ago.

But the will of her grandma to live on, is strong.

Both Chicken and I chimed in to say on text messaging that probably her grandma has unresolved things.

Chicken suggested for Bird to whisper to her grandma who now cannot speak as her lungs are congested with phlegm, to pass on as her favorite son (Bird’s pa has passed on last year).

Bird is afraid and so, I gave her a voice script to rehearse and say the right things so that the dying can exit gracefully in life without hanging on.

I am no expert in this and in trying to help Bird, I gave her a part script in Teochew dialect.

Bird said she cannot do it without crying. I told her to steel herself and do it as her grandma needs it.

She laughed on hearing my voice script and Chicken suggested Bird to record one in Bird’s voice and play it looped to her grandma, as if like a sutra!

We all laughed.

I told them I might have a career in this – Whisperer for The Dying!

I feel for the suffering grandma. Both Chicken and I did as nothing is worst than the living dead and in this case, literal body decay before Bird’s eyes.

It is not only foul smelling but also painful to her grandma.

It is awful to live like that.

Chicken suggested to Bird to pray to the God of Hades (Taoist belief) to descend and take her Grandma. As God of Hades to have pity on her grandma and take her with him.

7th month or hungry ghost month is due on 1st August 2019. If her grandma hangs on till then, then maybe during the “recruitment” month of souls, maybe Bird’s grandma will be recruited and her suffering ends.

Chicken and Bird agreed that a lingering death could be due to karma.

Sigh…I do not wish to be a living dead and I pray for a quick death for myself.


High Noon On A Saturday

It is Saturday and I have a brain that says, I deserve a break and not to do any office work today.

Brain wins and the body is now doing posts and to catch up reading other posts on WordPress.

Nothing pleases me most then doing nothing – mentally blanked and physically going through the motion of lunch and dinner preparations.

Happy Saturday all and a lovely Sunday is wished for you – in advance!


Social Media – Pitfalls

I am not into social media other than blogging on WordPress.

WordPress is where I can pen my thoughts, argue with myself and laugh at self, laugh at the world and laugh with the world.

I have made good virtual friends and enjoyed their posts on what lovely “visitors” they encounter in their lovely gardens or admire the beautiful flowers or photography they take and share.

I am not an Instagram person. I do not do Reddit or Facebook.

Facebook was only set up for me to have messenger with my nephew and I have to date, less that 10 friends on Facebook.

In fact just last week, I was counting the number of genuine human friends I have. Sad to say, I have only 3 humans!

Other than Bird, Chicken or Mr Docile, I have virtually axed a lot of fake fellas and do not feel the need to make new friends.

Instead, I am resigned to fate.


Fate brings people together and during the time together, some things need to be done and when it is done, fate separates us.

I no longer agonise over lost friendships or who took what from me or what I gave.

I do not wish to weigh what I did or give as it does not matter as I feel it is due to past life “owing” and this life “paying back”

Once this debt is balanced, we part.


It is better than beating self silly as to why people betray friendships or did things to me right?

I am better at ease with this than being upset.

I use to harbor so much anger and hatred for MR EX.

I asked WHY?

I got no answer.

I helped him with all my heart and I did it willingly. It was ok for him to accept it and “use” me – maybe in past life, he helped me and I “used” him and hence this life, I did my dues.

Life is funny isn’t it?

I will never achieve nirvana or become an endowed person. I will not pretend that I am smart or that I am more knowing after years of living on planet Earth.

What I do know is that I need closure and this is my coping mechanism to overcome why people weave in and out of my life, some stop over longer and others shorter.

The same applies for family members too. No difference as it is all about karma, fate and our destiny.


Why I Suck At Familial Relationships

I pretty much suck at relationships – especially familial relationships as frankly, I stopped trying.

My entire life since as a child, I have always been obedient, doing everyone’s bidding and never talking back or disobeying anyone.

These days, I am a monster that I am not proud of. I will bite back when my siblings give me a hard time or when my parents misbehave in that they do not follow medical advice or listen to things I tell them not to do.

I hate being the parental figure.

I have to manage finances, slog at as a minion, do the management of their lives and be their Girl Friday.

I think filial piety has taken a toll on me and I have become snappish.

I am irate and easily irked.

I recognise these signs and symptoms of stress and caregiver fatigue but I have no exit clause or anyone else to help me out as pleading with my siblings have landed on their deaf ears.

Whilst it is so easy of them to hide behind distance, using out of sight and out of mind, I find it very hard to just disappear.

With the prospect of upcoming surgery and not being able to just chill and worry about self, I know that I must stand by for my parents still.

It is hard being me.

I wish sometimes, that people will take ownership and responsibilities.


Antagonized Beyond Words

The weeks fly by too quickly is my take and now it is Thursday, into June 2019!

2019 is at its halfway mark. Seems like yesterday, I was doing countdown to usher in 2019 and in the wink of an eye, Summer is upon those in USA, UK, Europe and parts of Asia whilst those in Africas, New Zealand and Australia are into wintry months.

I had an exhaustive day yesterday, trying to resolve issues for my parents and really blew my lid when my sister brushed me aside with her grand speech of “you don’t live with them, what is your worry” when I said that I needed help to manage some of our parents issues and that I was facing caregiver burnt out syndrome.

My siblings are not the most “sensitive” of folks and neither are they the most “compassionate” of folks. My sister’s philosophy is not to be bothered with my parents. She does not understand that with each call I get from my parents at night or at work causes my heart to miss a beat or pound harder.

Calling me is never good news – it could be a fall, illness or issues that needed my attention.

At night, I sleep with one ear open as I am Speedy Gonzales on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When my father last required brain surgery some years back, my sister was nowhere to be found. She had promised me she would see her father before surgery but she decided to take a detour for a holiday before presenting self to a sick man.

Hospital procedures cannot wait and I had to proceed with surgery for dad. Had my dad passed on then, it would have been too bad for my sis then.

Just last Wednesday, Mum called me at work to say dad is missing. My heart dropped as it means I have to start hunting for him. But I felt his dementia is not at that stage. Turns out that mum is so hard of hearing that she did not realise that dad is indeed in the house.

My siblings do not have an ounce of urgency for when their parents are concerned in terms of ill health or family emergencies.

What I do know is the me, myself and I will be the only reactor.

So, I blew my lid when I was brushed aside by my sis on the phone with her caustic remark implying what is the big deal for me “since I do not live with them”

I am tired. I am exhausted. I continue to do the bidding of my parents, regardless of time or day. They pretty tell me each time, ” you decide and get it done!”

No one understands me and worst of all, MR EX decided to start his nonsense again and of course like they say in asia, “eruption of Mount Krakatua” and molten lava flowed……


Consistency, Persistence & Resistance – Life’s Lessons Learnt

I recently have a new follower and a fellow red dotter, Julie, albeit relocated in USA with her partner. You may want to pop by her blog site to check it out as I do love her drawings – here is the link on wordpress

In one of our recent exchanges on WordPress, she gave me the inspiration to do this post.

The word, “consistency” rings in my ears as I remember my Home Economics teacher reminding us that when we bake our sponge cakes, it must have the right texture and consistency. I am not one who is up to cooking a storm nor baking a pastry shop haha…hopeless at home making but better at corporate life. This explains why I am single, desperate and ugly! LOL! Ahh well, at least my inanimate furball Garfield does not betray nor leave me!

I am not referring to that word in that context, but to life’s lessons. Being consistent bodes evil too, I feel. Hmm – let me explain.

In work life, I am deemed as a consistent player. I do what I am tasked to do, on time, ahead of time and seen as reliable. This is not good as very soon, anything and everything under the sun is then sent my way.

What others cannot solve or resolve, I am the aisle 3 gal to sort it out.

Recently I had to deal with roach infestations, fire drills (the Safety Lord had the gall to tell me it is not under his purview) and so I smiled my sweetest smile and said, “Oh, ok let’s all burn together end up as ashes in the Semakau Landfill!” – that hit a tender spot!

FYI – the Semakau Landfill is an island built from waste i.e. burnt garbage or waste and very soon, it will become another idyllic spot for us to visit and picnic on. Yes, our government is great at greening places and creating new ways of waste management – Kudos!

I prefer to be consistent in an inconsistent way to enable people to realise that hey, I am not actually “good” – but rather, she is ok and cannot solve everything.

My other catch word is Persistence. I have great persistence. I remember during my undergrad years the University of Oregon, I had to camp at the hallways of Deady Hall to catch office hours of Prof Sherman. He was one of the toughest professor in Math and everybody I knew on campus only manages to get an F or C- at most and I was advised by other Singaporeans on campus to drop the class and seek another lecturer or switch this course to a PASS or No PASS grade.

It was too late for me to do any of that and so, I persistently camped outside Prof Sherman’s office during slated office hours to get remedial help as I did not want my GPA to be affected. I am competitive and wanted to ensure I stay on the Dean’s list, consistently!

I did not fail. Neither did I get an A. I landed a C+

I was sad because when I graduated I had straight As except for this C+ from Prof Sherman and the other from my Econ lecturer. I felt he was biased against me as we were more than teacher and student as we hung out a lot.

For the third word, Resistance – ahhh, I always have a soft soft spot for chocolates! I love chockies but oh it is hard to resist this tasty treat.

So, what I have done is cube it into tiny pieces and ration self to just have a taste of it to satiate the thirst for it.

Moral of my life lessons is best summed as “In life, I believed in being persistent to work through my life goals and achieve it. However I learnt that being consistently good sets a bar of expectations that I did not like to keep or uphold. Delivering grade “A” standard of work consistently is silly especially when a passable grade will get you the same compensation but lesser work.

Gone are the days where I will be silly to strive for excellence at work. B+ or C+ if suffices, will do equally well are my thoughts, unless of course you need to be in a job that requires precision, accuracy and lives are at stake. Otherwise, if like me, a pen pusher, enough is enough as I am not there to win Employee of the Year Award when none exists and no one will appreciate you for it.

What is consistent in my life is the need to be incarcerated in Bates Motel ever so often. Pain is persistent most times although I practice resistance and ensure that it is mind over matter to overcome.

So folks – consistency, persistence and resistance is really an art that needs to be balanced, depending on the situation and circumstance unique to it.

Apply it and with your wisdom, you will get to where you want to be.

Cheers and have a great weekend ahead!


By The Bye…

As the weekend rolls by,

I bid Friday good bye.

The work week has quickly rolled by,

People tend to bid “hi” and “bye”.

I had an interesting week of sorting out warring humans.

Human relations are funny. We all co-exist at work, yet why all the angst and animosity?

It begins with mindset I feel. If one is not open to a spirit of cooperation and sharing then work becomes silo based.

The art of tai chi then comes into play and by tai chi, in our colloquial usage it means “deflecting” work.

There are some with the mentality of why bother explaining to newbie as it takes too much time and so, it remains forever the job of one person. Perhaps it is territorial protection to ensure job longevity so that no new comers can come unto one’s turf?

Then there is battle between “in laws” – Ms Calculative I having a hard time with her mum in law. The drama is so thick that Ms Calculative curses her MIL to death all the time and MIL will throw away her breast milk expressed for her 8 month old baby.

Why not give and take and let it go- was my silly advice!

In an Asian filial piety world, elders are to be revered. But Ms Calculative will do no such thing and is rather focus on getting what she wants. It becomes a battle each time so much so that it affects her work as she is on the phone sharing her sorry tale with those she know.

I find it sad as it puts the husband in the middle. He is MIL’s son and she is DIL. DILs are expected to respect and serve MIL but just not this one.

Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is to say as I am sure there are 2 sides to a coin and in this family’s tale, there is so much animosity that I feel it is a relationship that has broken down irrevocably.

Life is hard when there is a lot of anger, angst and hatred.

I am not a saint and am angry for the right reasons for situations that give me the short end of the stick of when I know I have been used.

I do have angst and hatred for MR EX as what he has done is not right! All the lies, cheating and hogwash was not fair but then who am I to say who or what is fair!

I live, I learn from daily lessons in life.

Most importantly, I adapt and change.


Is Good Health Taken For Granted? A Timely Reminder

Is good health taken for granted? is a practical blog site and I follow it to learn useful practical ways of stretching dollars whilst living in the UK as a retiree. Do pop by and have a read.

I read his recent article on how he was glad that he was medically cleared of an ailment. He stated a fact that reasonated with me – people moan about ill health but people do not celebrate or write about good health they enjoy! Hmm…

I have good days and bad days for health. Generally, I am ridden with pain daily but I do not live life as if I am dying. I moan and groan about it but I laugh a heck of a lot as endorphins manages pain best.

I recently saw a colleague walking like a zombie and asked her what was wrong. She appeared shell shocked and whispered to me that she was dying as she has been diagnosed with diabetes.

She is not obese and instead normal sized.

I told her diabetes is not a death knell – unlike cancers of heart failures, one can live a good and rich life as all the person needs to do is amend lifestyle habits and exercise plus taking her daily dosage of Metformin and blood pricks in the morning.

She does not seem to accept her disease and informs me that she will not want to prick her own fingers and have asked her husband to do for it. I chided her for not taking ownership of her own health. I ticked her off as it is not her husband’s duty but her own plus what if the husband is out of town for work or worst case, is unavailable – then what?!

She then bemoaned that she cannot stop eating durians! Durians are lethal fruits for diabetics and will lead them to diabetic comas when consumed in mega doses and I know she does consume it in mega doses.

Her answer to me was a real classic one! I cannot stop it as my kids love them. If I stop buying it, they cannot enjoy it.

“Look here mum – you already have diabetes and you are not looking out for your family. You ought to share with them that your mum has diabetes and they must start eating healthily now. They can eat in moderation. You abstain! You need not eat. You can watch them eat!”

I was cross. Why?

She is not without life. She has limbs and a working heart. Organs all else are healthy.

She would drink sugary drinks etc.

I continued to encourage her that diabetics live a long time – so long as they manage their health.

I am lucky I am alive. I am lucky I can walk. For each painful day, I recognize that I am alive and not a burden to anyone.

Good reminder from alifegayventure on living life, celebrating health!

Cheers to good heart health, mental health and physical health to all!