Friday, September 29, 2006

Quote of the Month (September)

"The Blackest is the Chief of all Pirates."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Jordan

It's been quite awhile since I blogged about my precious son, Jordan.

He's now about 9kg. Recently, we discovered his crawling style - one foot flat on the floor (usually the left foot) while dragging the other leg to move forward. We have a video clip of him crawling in this manner. Sometimes he even placed both feet (not knees) and hands on the floor and crawled. It's rather amusing. He can't walk yet. He has tried to stand but only for a few seconds. He loves to crawl and turn on our bed. He often bangs two objects together and still loves to drop things out of his cot/playpen.

We have started feeding him with rice cereal regularly. He finished it most of the time. Now, he is taking brown rice cereal. So far, I have not cooked porridge for him yet during weekends - just feeding him with rice cereal. He takes porridge twice a day at the babysitter during weekday. He doesn't seem to like processed food in the jar. He has wasted at least 4 bottles of that. Seng Chor ate some for him. We still got 3 more bottles left. The taste it's a bit sour. Perhaps his taste bud is like mine - I dislike sour stuffs.

On his speech, still the same - Mama, Dada, Papa, Mum-mum. Sometimes, he 'talks' a lot to himself. He laughs really, really loud. Probably 'inherited' that from his khai-ma.

I just love to take photos and videos of him. During the first 2 months, I took pictures of him almost everyday. Now, I take every week. He is quite good at posing for the camera. Got practice since birth. Hee! Hee!

We have plans to celebrate his 1st birthday. My mum, his grandma, will be here to celebrate together. We are open to suggestions - something unique and affordable. He may not remember anything at all, but at least we can still show him the photos and videos in the future.

A lot of people have asked me about having a second child. Well...the answer is still the same - "Just leave it to God."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Eight Mobile Phones

I got my first mobile phone in 1995. It was a Motorola, bought by my Dad. It's black, extremely tough, bulky, heavy. Only used to call and receive calls. Can be used as a weapon - seriously. Used for about 1 - 2 years. (No photo to show)

Below is my second mobile phone - Nokia 6150
• Weight: 141g (Slim 900mAh Li-Ion battery)
• Measurement: 129mm x 47mm x 28mm
Very slim as compared to my first mobile phone. Not many features as well. Bought it at Sungei Wang Plaza together with Seng Chor.

The next one is one of my favourite mobile phones - It's a Sony. Bought it during our honeymoon in Singapore - 2000. It has a jog dial at the side which enables you to scroll and select. I used it for 4 years until the battery went dead suddenly. :(

My 4th wedding anniversary gift is extremely elegant - my first colour phone - Sagem (myC-3b). It has a mirror too. Not very user friendly though. I love the design and the colour - red. On the same year, I applied for a KL mobile number - free access fee. So, Seng Chor bought me another phone. The name of the brand is Sonata (no picture). It is the smallest but lousiest phone that we ever had. It has colour but you can't search for a contact when sending sms. Terrible, right? It's really compact but too bad the features are lousy.

Ok...I bear with the Sonata for awhile until Seng Chor won this Nokia 2650 at his Company annual dinner. Cool, eh? At first, I had difficulty pressing the buttons. Gradually, the 'sickness' disappeared and the phone served its purpose well.

Now, the next one is a beauty too - LG KG320 aka Chocolate Bar (picture below) - my first camera phone. Initially, I used it for my KL number. After using the number for 2 years, Maxis started to charge me the access fee. So, we terminated the line, and I transferred my KK (Sabah) number to this phone. Disaster strikes! The SIM card and the phone are not compatible. We made enquiries at Celcom twice and also at the LG service centre but nothing could be done. :( The lesson here is - never buy an LG mobile phone! Now, Seng Chor has the privilege of using this phone. It was supposed to be my 6th wedding anniversary and graduation gift. *sigh*

Ahem...drum roll, please for the next latest and current mobile phone...

It's a Nokia 6233. At a glance...

  • A stylish 3G phone with a high-quality stainless steel finish

  • High-quality surround sound through stereo speakers

  • Video, MP3, eAAC+, and True Tones for an enhanced audio experience

  • Supports video sharing - share live moments with family and friends!

  • 2 megapixel camera with 8x smooth, digital zoom - all in landscape mode on a large QVGA display

  • Easy, over-the-air synchronization between phone and your PC to keep you updated

Now, for the first time, I got the coolest mobile phone in my family. And the best is - it's FREE. Here's the was given to Seng Chor by his god-sister who is working in Singapore. She gets free mobile phone every year from SingTel (Singapore Telco) for using the land line. This is how they encouraged people to apply for land line (fixed line) instead of just using mobile phone. It's an excellent marketing gimmick, indeed. So, it's farewell to LG, and Hello Nokia.

Annual Course Report

Every year, around September/October period, I need to prepare an annual course report which reviews the academic operations for the BSc (Hons) Software Engineering course. I started the writing on the second week of this month. Stopped for 1 to 2 weeks. I procrastinated until last week and finally completed it yesterday. Hip! Hip! Hooray! Throughout the month, I was 'grumbling' to Seng Chor about it. It's a dreadful report. I had to dig out the past records, prepare statistics and analyse all the information critically. The hard work is all over now. Now, I can focus more on the preparation of my lectures starting next week. So, actually, it was not one more week of freedom, but one more week to prepare for the commencement of a new academic year. Well, just take it easy and do one thing at a time. God is my helper and my wisdom.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.
I will counsel you and watch over you."
Psalm 32:8

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One more week of 'Freedom'

One more week and all my students will be back. The Year 2 and 3 will commence on Monday, 2 October 2006. This academic year, I have 3 modules to teach:

Year 3
1) Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing
Content: Turing Machine, Symbol Grounding, Expert Systems, etc
2) Soft Computing
Content: Fuzzy Logic, Neural Network, Genetic Algorithm

Year 1
1) Software Design and Implementation 1
Content: C++ Programming Language

What have I been doing for the past 2 months?

  • Blogging (of course)

  • MSN

  • Email

  • Preparing Lectures

  • Administrative Work - writing reports, meetings

Blogging and MSN time will be very much reduced soon. :(

One interesting thing about this job is that I get to meet different batch of students every year. It's a joy to see them graduate. Of course, I get all sorts of students - smart/weak, hardworking/lazy, motivated/I-don't-bother attitude, etc, etc. Dealing with them is a challenge. Need much TLC (Tender Loving Care). Not too much. Just enough to earn their respect. :)

Yup, one more week to recharge for another new beginning.

Monday, September 18, 2006

People in the Congratulatory Message

Some of you have asked me who's who in the Congratulatory message.
Let me give a brief description...

Obviously, Mr & Mrs Peter Lee Hock Yin are my parents. :)

Datuk & Datin Kuleong C. Mopilin - close family friend; business associate of my Dad
Mr & Mrs Teoh Teik Wah - my in-laws
Mr & Mrs Peter Henry Chin - my uncle (mum's eldest brother) + aunty
Mr & Mrs Danny Vincent Dass - my sis-in-law and hubby
Miss Teoh Li San - my sis-in-law (Seng Chor's youngest sister)
Miss Agatha Liew - my ex-schoolmate
Miss Jenny Ng - my ex-University mate
Mr & Mrs Lee Fook Fu - my uncle (dad's younger brother) + aunty
Mr & Mrs George Voo Thau Kiong - my aunty (dad's younger sister) + uncle
Mr & Mrs David Chung Tin Chau - close family friend; parents of my brother's girlfriend
Mr & Mrs Khung Kok Vui - my mum's good friend (Aunty Ruby + hubby)
Madam Han Len Foon - close family friend; mum's ex-College mate
Miss Justene Loh Siok Yee - Aunty Len Foon's daughter
John Dingon & Josephine Yong - my ex-schoolmate and her hubby
Mr & Mrs David Fong Chee Yaw - Aunty Monica (mum's youngest sister) + uncle
Mr & Mrs Daniel Chong Jan Fah - Aunty Mary (mum's younger sister) + uncle
Dr Flora Chong Li Tze - my cousin (daughter of Aunty Mary); a medical doctor

Snapshots of Publication

Friday, September 15, 2006

PhD – to pursue or not

By Dr Christine Lee Siew Ken

Doing a PhD? It all began in 2002. Actually two of my ex-colleagues broached the idea to me. One of them is a PhD holder, whereas the other one was pursuing it. Both seem to have more confidence in me, than myself. They gave me some ideas on the areas of research as well. Now, my main question is to pursue or not to pursue. Why should I do it? The commitment is considered long - about three years. Moreover, I may be starting a family on my own soon.

Here are some thoughts. Pursing the PhD will enable me to enlarge my borders and to have more opportunities to meet people with similar research interest. Being in the education line, it is a natural progression for me as well. I was not seeking for greener pasture. I was and still am very much contented with my current position.

After much pondering and prayers, I finally decided to start some research and just wait for open doors and opportunities. I needed the right research area, the right University, and supervisor.

I began to read up articles and journals on the Internet, and did a bit of research on my own. Eventually, I discovered my interest in Intelligent Tutoring Systems. Since I have been lecturing C++ programming for quite some time (11 years now), it was natural for me to design and develop an Intelligent Tutoring System to teach C++ programming. So, my scope of research is better defined. My first choice was to pursue the PhD with one of my College's partner University. That didn't materialize because of the high tuition fee. By faith, in 2003, I applied for the College Staff Study Grant, and the grant was approved on 17 March 2003.

As part of the Study Grant, I was paid RM1500 a year for book allowance. During the period when I was pursuing my programme of study under the Study Grant, I was given a day a month as special leave to conduct my research or meet up with my supervisor. I was also given a special 3 weeks at the end-stage of my study programme to enable me to prepare my dissertation. The book allowance and the study leave have benefited me much during my study period. Incidentally, I was the first PhD student to be sponsored by the College.

After signing up for the Study Grant, I was still seeking for an open door - University and supervisor. Then, something happened. I became pregnant. I was feeling really excited - to be a mother and doing the PhD at the same time. However, it was not the right time yet for a baby. I had a miscarriage. It was a painful experience. I felt the emptiness and lost tremendously. With my family and church members encouraging me, I was able to experience joy again. After resting for a few months, I carried on with my research.

Months passed by. The door was finally opened. My friend Yoke Lai introduced me to her supervisor at the University of Malaya (UM). Surprisingly, her supervisor has the same research interest - Intelligent Tutoring Systems. I sent him my proposal. He accepted it and within a month or two I registered myself with UM. That was in July 2003.

So, I officially started my research after my registration. I conducted literature review for about one year. With the encouragement from my supervisor, I commenced the writing of the dissertation as I reviewed existing research. Eventually, I came up with a proper problem statement.

2005 - God gave us a surprise gift. I was pregnant again! I was actually more fearful than excited when I first discovered the pregnancy. I had doubts as well. Is this for real? Am I going to lose this baby again? Thankfully, I got through the first trimester of the pregnancy. Miraculously, I didn't suffer much morning sickness. I continued with my research.

As the development of the system continued, more and more bugs appeared. Things looked discouraging and I was looking for breakthroughs in my research. There were times I wanted to postpone my research or even give up entirely. Two other things kept me baby and my Study Grant. If I failed to complete my PhD within the stipulated time stated in the Grant, which is 3 years, I might need to pay compensation to the College! I couldn't afford that. So, I must complete it. The baby growing within has also motivated me to finish it once and for all. During times when I had to work late, I would tell my baby this, “Mummy needs to work. Please behave yourself and be patient”. He seemed to understand and didn’t give me much problem.

Little by little, I experienced breakthroughs in my research. My research was accepted for presentation and publication at two major conferences. The first one was at the 18th Malaysian Educational Technology Convention, Kuala Terengganu, 16-19 September 2005. Because of my pregnancy, I was reluctant to travel to Kuala Terengganu. My supervisor graciously agreed to attend the Conference and present the paper on behalf of me. So, I prepared all the presentation slides for him. It went well and the paper was eventually selected for the Special Issue in the Malaysian Online Journal of Instructional Technology (MOJIT).

The second conference (Frontiers in Education 2005) was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 19-22 October 2005. The date is actually about 2 months before the delivery of my baby. Even though I was not fit to travel so far, I’m thankful that my College willingly sponsored the conference registration fee so that my paper could be published.

After much difficulty, the errors in my system were finally fixed and I started the evaluation of the system in October 2005. Thank God that the results were positive. Otherwise, I would not be able to submit my dissertation on time. With that, I commenced the writing of the remaining chapters of my dissertation. During this time, my mum was the greatest supporter.

My mum reminded me of a saying that goes like this: “A journey of a thousand miles beings with a single step.” Until today, her words of advice remain fresh in my memory. ‘If we want to achieve whatever goals we have set at the beginning of a journey, we should just do our best and persevere no matter what difficulties we may encounter in life.’ With this in mind, I became fully determined to carry on and bring to fruition a task, seemingly impossible for me at that point in time. She came all the way from Kota Kinabalu to Petaling Jaya to help me prepare the birth of her first grandchild. She even spent late nights with me to proofread my dissertation, and gave me ideas for my Introduction. A super Mum indeed!

All this while, I hoped for the perfect delivery time for my baby boy Jordan. I was afraid that he would want to come out earlier but he didn't. He was late but a wonderful timing. He seemed to be waiting for me to complete the dissertation. He was with me as I spent long hours at night writing my dissertation. He had probably complained because I often experienced minor 'earthquakes' in my tummy area.

Finally, I submitted my first draft to my supervisor almost one week before I gave birth to Jordan. My husband Seng Chor helped me with the submission. One week after Jordan's birth, my supervisor gave me the feedback.

With God's strength once again, I made all the changes and additions during my confinement. It was not easy as I had to breastfeed. The decision to fully breastfeed my baby is something that I would never regret. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was tiring but once again my family members and friends were there to support me, and I managed to make all the necessary modifications within two days. I remembered the confinement lady constantly advising me take rest, but I persisted.

Before that, my husband actually had to meet up with my supervisor regarding the modifications. My supervisor explained to him all the required changes. Obviously, my husband didn't really understand the whole thing, but he just nodded, and related all to me. Amazingly, I submitted the final draft on 23 December 2005. Once again, my husband went to the University to process my submission. He had to go up and down my Faculty to get the necessary forms signed and photocopied. There was no lift, just stairs. It was a good exercise for him, and I heard that his shirt was drenched with sweat. He just took time off, and went back to work after that. Because my supervisor advised me to submit before Christmas, I didn't have to pay for another semester's fee. That was just the first hurdle. Two more hurdles have yet to come – presentation and viva.

Towards the end of my maternity leave, I received an email from UM to present my research to the Faculty members and postgraduate students. Initially, the date of the presentation was scheduled before the end of my maternity leave. Thankfully, it was postponed to 17 February 2006, and I resumed work on 13 February 2006. I was able to use the five days to prepare my presentation. If it was not postponed, I would not be able to prepare well as I was still breastfeeding, and the baby needed a lot of attention.

The 40-minute presentation went well. Though the audience was small, there were some tough questions that I had to handle, and it was a good learning experience for me. So, the second hurdle was crossed. The third and most difficult hurdle is the viva.

On Monday, 12 June 2006, I was on leave - just wanted to rest after the Singapore trip over the weekend. In the morning, I received a call from Ms Pappu, Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology, University of Malaya. She informed me that my viva would be on that coming Friday, 16 June 2006 at 9:30 am. I was surprised at the short notice, and I exclaimed, "so fast?". She replied that it was delayed already, which is true because it was supposed to be 1 - 2 months ago. This is it. The VIVA that I have been waiting for has FINALLY arrived. I started to panic a bit. Then, I quickly sent sms and email for prayers…sent an email to my supervisor for advice. He asked me not to worry, advising me to review the latest research for my area. Glad that I took his advice.

Thankfully, Seng Chor was supportive. He missed his meetings and badmintons to take care of Jordan while I revised. So much to read but so little time. In the end, I had to cut down a lot things and focussed on a few key areas. Seng Chor gave a very good reminder actually. The viva is about defending your project work. He said "Just explain and defend". This prompted me to look into any 'loopholes' and 'patch' them with the appropriate answers. I managed to read my entire thesis once through and practise the presentation quite a number of times. I came to realise that I can never be fully prepared for anything. So, that was a comforting thought and I was more relaxed.

Below is what I wrote in my journal for that day:
16 June 2006 (Friday)
PhD viva at 9:30 am in UM.
Reached UM 9:00 am. Went straight to see Ms Pappu to have my presentation installed. Then, she surprised me with 2 statements: Yours will be short, probably 1 hour (My thoughts, “hmmm…sounds good or could be bad”).
After the viva, wait in this room. They will call you in to let you know the results ("Wow! So fast can know the results").

I waited at the Postgraduate room.
I was called in at about 9:30 am. There were 6 people in the room including my supervisor, Dr Sapiyan.
Presented using PowerPoint for about 25 minutes.
Q&A for half an hour by the external examiner.
Then, went back to the room to wait.
Within 10 minutes, they called me in.
“… Christine, we will recommend to the Senate that you be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy.”

Wow! My heart was pounding. It was such a relief.

After that, had some discussion with Dr Sapiyan until almost 11:30 am. He told me that my presentation was good and my report was organised well for the examiners.
Then, I returned to College after getting the Examiner’s reports from Ms Pappu. The reports were encouraging.

My heart was still pounding with excitement for a few hours after the results. It was so unbelievable. There were altogether 3 examiners for my thesis - 2 external examiners (local and overseas) and 1 internal examiner from UM. All three agreed to the conferment of the PhD award. One of them did a thorough examination on my work. She spotted all my minor mistakes with my references and (oops!) spelling mistakes as well. She's cool. She has also made other recommendations to improve some sections of my thesis. Another examiner recommended that I add in some more discussion on future work.

I was given one month to complete and submit the changes to my supervisor. To cut the story short, I managed to submit the FINAL thesis on 6 July 2006, just in time for the Senate meeting on Friday, 14 July 2006. Phew! Otherwise, my convocation would be delayed to next year 2007.

Few days after the viva, I flew to Hong Kong to present my research paper at the International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence Applications (IWAIA), International MultiConference of Engineers and Computer Scientists (IMECS) 2006, organised by the International Association of Engineers (IAENG). My paper was nominated for the Best Paper Award in the IWAIA. Once again, I am thankful to my College for sponsoring my trip to Hong Kong for the conference.

Pre-Convocation Butterflies
The Big Day is - 8 August 2006. I was feeling excited. I was nervous. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Hmm...did I feel like this on my wedding day?

I was at the rehearsal on Saturday, 5 August 2006. Found out that PhD graduates will be receiving the scroll from the UM Chancellor – DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan Sultan Azlan Shah, and to shake hands with him too, our ex-King (Agung). Wow!
So many protocols...
Bow when getting up from the seat
Walk to the stairs on the stage, and wait
When your name is called, walk to the marker
Bow, then, take a step forward to receive the scroll with both hands
Shake hand with the Sultan (only for PhD graduates)
Say "Menjunjung Kasih Tuanku" or "Thank you, Tuanku"
Take a step backward
Bow again and walk away.

I hope I can remember to do all the above. Hope I don't fall or trip or make a fool of myself in anyway.

On 8 August 2006, I attended the convocation. I remembered all the necessary protocols. After the ceremony, Tuanku stayed back to take photos with us. What a privilege!

Some of my students came. I got a bouquet of red roses from them. How lovely! More wanted to come but I sort of discouraged them because of the limited parking space. As a PhD graduate, I was invited to the UM Convocation Dinner at PJ Hilton hosted by the Sultan. How privileged!

Looking back to the auspicious and memorable day, I realised that I have gone through a lot, and there were good and bad memories in my journey to excellence. I suffered a miscarriage but was later blessed with a beautiful baby boy. I still had to lecture, administer the degree courses and deal with my students at the College daily. But it was not just all work and no play. I still found time to relax – went to a few Island trips, Kuching, Singapore and even China for a holiday. Amazingly, I was able to complete the PhD within the minimum time frame, which is 5 semesters – 2 and ½ years. It was my initial target and I have managed to meet that.

The whole PhD study period was an awesome learning experience. But it has strengthened me and helped me to develop my analytical skills as well as skills in research and development. The experience gained throughout the research has been overwhelming and fulfilling. And most of all to be able to share this rewarding experience to others for motivation. The important thing is not to give up, and have family and friends to rely on.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to God, my husband, parents, supervisor (Associate Prof Dr M. Sapiyan Baba) at University of Malaya, KBU International College, relatives and friends who have made my dream come true.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Congratulatory Message

Yesterday (13 September 2006), a congratulatory message for my PhD award was published in the Express Women's Day Special of the Daily Express (a local newspaper in Sabah).

This is the content of the message:

Heartiest Congratulations
Mr & Mrs Peter Lee Hock Yin
on the occasion of their eldest daughter
being conferred the Degree of Doctor of Philosopy
by the
Faculty of Computer Science
& Information Technology
on 8th August 2006
Datuk & Datin Kuleong C. Mopilin
Mr & Mrs Teoh Teik Wah
Mr & Mrs Peter Henry Chin
Mr & Mrs Danny Vincent Dass
Miss Teoh Li San
Miss Agatha Liew
Miss Jenny Ng
Mr & Mrs Lee Fook Fu
Mr & Mrs George Voo Thau Kiong
Mr & Mrs David Chung Tin Chau
Mr & Mrs Khung Kok Vui
Madam Han Len Foon
Miss Justene Loh Siok Yee
John Dingon & Josephine Yong
Mr & Mrs David Fong Chee Yaw
Mr & Mrs Daniel Chong Jan Fah
Dr Flora Chong Li Tze

What an honour! A photo of me shaking hands with the UM Chancellor - Sultan of Perak was inserted in the message. My article on my PhD learning experience was also published on the same day. I didn't realise that the article was more than half a page long! Because of that, the publisher had to reduce the size of other people's photos (oops!). A photo of me wearing my gown and carrying Jordan was also included - Dr Christine with her eight-month-old Jordan. I am over the moon at this publication. I hope to inspire other women through my experience.

Praise the Lord!

How can I help Jordan

My precious Jordan Teoh Shang Xian is already 9 months old!

How can I help him to develop:
  • Place him at one end of the room and get him to crawl towards me.
  • Create a tunnel that he can crawl through by seeing me at the other end.
  • Give him old newspapers and tissue paper that he can tear up.
  • Roll a ball to him and get him to roll it back to me.
  • Give him a small box that he can climb in and out of.
  • Help him use simple puzzles where he can fit the pieces together.
  • Play interactive games like “ring a ring a roses” and “row, row, row your boat”.
  • Place a toy behind him and encourage him to twist around and reach for the toy.
  • Support him so he can walk with my help.
  • Show him family photos and name each person.
  • Read to him and point out the pictures.
  • Give him toys that he can dress and undress.
  • Ask him to share his toys and food with me, and reward him when he does so.
  • Continue to name everything that he encounters and repeat the words often.

Jordan's emotions:

He will show his moods and will make facial expressions appropriate to how he is feeling, such as looking hurt, angry, happy, and excited. As his awareness of himself grows he begins to recognize differences between girls and boys. He is also becoming aware of what is socially acceptable and unacceptable through the praise and reprimands that he receives, and he adjusts his behavior accordingly.

He is sensitive to the responses received by other children and may express jealously or annoyance if he is ignored. He becomes possessive, getting angry if you take it from him without asking.

What Jordan enjoys:

He enjoys playing with his bath toys in the bath tub. Of course, he enjoys splashing water during bath.

He enjoys the moments when we carry him up or down the stairs. He would laugh loudly and excitedly.

He enjoys rubbing his face against a cloth - napkin/blanket/shirt.

He automatically sucks his thumb before sleep and before his milk.

The thing he enjoys most is biting his toys or any other objects that he can grab hold of. We noticed that he likes to bite labels. Funny habit. He also likes to crumple plastic bags. Maybe he likes to hear the sound.

For his age, he is rather sociable. Just like the Daddy. Very friendly. Smiles to anyone, and anyone can carry him away. Good and bad. So, we need to be extra careful when shopping. He may just follow anyone home. I know that some of you would probably love to take him home. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Happy 'birthday' to my precious surprise Gift from God!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

First Sunday School Junior Class

Last Sunday, I taught my first class in the Bukit Beruntung Chapel Sunday School Junior Class. There were 5 children - 4 girls and 1 boy. The lesson was on God's creation. It was just a very simple lesson on what God created. Yung Ling helped me to put up a blank piece of paper. As I shared with them, I got them to come up and draw - sun, moon, stars, clouds, trees, fish, animals and plants. In the end, they coloured a picture of Adam and Eve with some animals and trees. These children love to draw and colour. Two children from the Senior class actually came to do the colouring as well. I'm not sure whether they remembered what I told them. I will ask them questions in the next lesson to find out what they have learned.

The next lesson is about sin. The story starts with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden - the first sin. They disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:15-17 [NIV]). Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit first. She saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to Adam, who was with her, and he ate it. Because of their disobedience, God banished them from the Garden of Eden.

Hmmm...I will need to think of some simple applications. The activity that Yung Ling suggested is to fold an origami snake. I think it's going to be fun. Probably get them to colour their snakes as well. So, the activity is "Fun with Snake".

As I relate to the children, I am beginning to see myself teaching Jordan in the near future. Good practice, eh? As Sunday School teachers, we may not even see the fruit from these children but we are here to plant, sow and water, and leave the rest to God. Amen!

Monday, September 11, 2006

6th Wedding Anniversary

9 September 2000 - Seng Chor and I exchanged our marriage vows at PJ Gospel Hall. It was a Saturday afternoon.

This year, 9 September also falls on a Saturday. We have just celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary. Every year, my parents are the first people to greet us through sms. This year their message reads...
"Dr Cabo, Seng Chor, 'Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary'. Have a wonderful day! God bless both of u n little Jordan now n forever more. Affectionately, Pa n ma."
07:48:30 am
Indeed, this year we have more reasons to celebrate - PhD award and Little Jordan. Every year, Seng Chor plans for the anniversary. The grandest so far is in 2004 - 4th Wedding anniversary. He booked a Junior suite at Prince Hotel, and we had fine dining at a restaurant called Top Hat. I ordered a seafood platter which included a tiny lobster. I really enjoyed the dinner. Oh, for breakfast, he took me to Imbi for my favorite roti bakar and half boiled egg. One more thing, it was the first time, we sent each other flowers! The bouquet was delivered to our respective workplace. Of course, we didn't plan this with each other. It was a wonderful surprise indeed. Hmm....his bouquet for me was much more impressive. Hee! Hee!
Because I enjoyed Top Hat so much, we went back there again last year to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary. Unfortunately, there was no seafood platter in the menu. I couldn't even remember what I ordered. So, not so yummy. Nothing special happened.
For this year, he did make some plans - book a room at Prince Hotel and have our dinner there. But in the end, he decided to save that for my birthday (Hmm...not sure why). So, because of the changed of plans, he suggested taking Jordan for a swim at Nai Kyn and Yoke Teen's condo. But (again), he was too tired to get up and I had to send an sms to Yoke Teen to cancel. Why was he so tired? He watched TV the whole night and only came to bed at dawn! Of course, got scolding from me after that. I was really disappointed. If Jordan knew, he would be disappointed too. Not a happy note to start the anniversary. Well...he didn't wake up very late. He wanted to buy me breakfast but I didn't feel like eating much that morning.
Because of the changed of plans (no dinner at Prince Hotel), I suggested going to D'fisherman for my favorite seafood - lobster. Well...something else happened. We got a call from Yoke Kheng inviting us to join them (Kenny and Kevin) for dinner. They forgotten that it is our anniversary. Seng Chor passed the baton to me for decision. Since we don't get such invitations often, I decided to join them and postpone our lobster dinner to the next day. We ended up having dinner behind Sunway Mas Damansara at a restaurant called Delighted Kitchen. Quite a delightful dinner. Good fellowship, and 'entertainment' from Jordan. So, this is the first time we spent our anniversary with friends.
My lobster dinner came true last night. It was not at D'fisherman though. We went there and found that the restaurant is no more there! Shocking, eh? Next choice - Pantai Seafood Restaurant. It was packed. They have extended the place - another level of dining area. The last time we went was to celebrate my birthday. That was memorable because my parents were here to celebrate it with me before the birth of Jordan. Seng Chor proposed this place earlier on but to me it is not a romantic place to celebrate anniversary. Anyway, we got our table at the top level. We ordered 3 dishes - salad lobster from Australia, noodle and celery. The celery arrived first. When the salad lobster came, I could see heads turning to our table, looking at us with awe. Two people and a baby eating one lobster! Though the ambience was far from my expectation, I enjoyed the lobster tremendously. The taste is indescribable. So juicy and yummy. I'll probably have to wait another year before I can eat such meal again. :)
During the dinner, Jordan was quite a handful. We had to take turns to carry him. We didn't offer him any lobster. Just few drops of orange juice. Hee! Hee! Guess who sponsored part of the bill? It's Jordan! Well...the bill was almost as much as his collection of ang pow from Penang. So, we let him pay for it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Thanks Jordan, love Daddy and Mummy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Winning Rat

Can you see the blue coloured rat on the pink box? That is my winning rat in the Ratrace game we played in Tioman. It landed on the Stock Exchange which won me tonnes of money to reach the winning target. I think it was Kenny's throw that helped my little rat to win. Well done, Bluey!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jordan and His Beloved

Ahem! His beloved is not the opposite sex. I think he has no special interest in girls yet. Ha! Ha! Ha! His beloved is the Walker. He wants to be carried less. He doesn't like to be confined to his playpen or his cot long. But once you put him onto the walker, he goes wild. Smiling away as he zooms all over the living room. He's unstoppable. I got bang by him a few times. It's painful.

It's true that as babies grow older, they are more difficult to handle. In the first 3 months, they can't do much but just lie still on the bed. Occasionally (or frequently), they cry for attention. But the parents are more in control. They may start to flip after that. So, we have to make sure that they don't suffocate themselves. Then, the next stage is the crawling and climbing stage. Now, parents are losing their control of the baby. It gets worse when they start to walk. They want to touch everything they see. Seng Chor and I are going through this stage with Jordan at the moment. He is not walking yet but he wants to be on the walker. So, we need to create a safe environment for him to explore. We also need to constantly keep our eyes on him to make sure that he doesn't pull or pick up things to put into his mouth or create a tsunami. We need more energy / strength / stamina to keep up with his active lifestyle now. Well...I do need to lose some weight. So, it is a good exercise for me. Hee! Hee! Hee! According to 'experts', enjoy this stage while you still can because it will not last long. In the blink of an eye, they will reach their teens, and that's when they become out of control.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My surprise gift from God

Finally, finally, finally, this photo is uploaded. It took like ages.
Yes, Jordan is my surprise Gift from God. Someone commented that I am holding him like I'm holding my scroll. :)

Penang with a Difference

We're back!

We (Seng Chor, Jordan and I) left for Penang on Wednesday (30/8/06) night, and arrived there past midnight. On the way, we saw fireworks - it was a beautiful sight. It reminds me of the spectacular fireworks that Seng Chor and I saw in Disneyland, Hong Kong.

On arrival, we were warmly greeted by the whole family - my parents-in-laws, sister-in-law Li San, sister-in-law Huey Pin & her husband Danny, and of course, our adorable nephew Jeffrey (previously known as Preston). Jordan was happy to see them. All of them took turns to carry him. It was not a surprise to me that he was comfortable with all of them They were quite surprise, because at this age, babies are normally quite sticky because they can recognise people.

The next day, which is Merdeka Day, the whole family (9 of us) went to Penang Island. We walked around in Prangin Mall. Finally, went to Starbucks Coffee.

Friday was visitation day. Baby Jeffrey has just turned one month old. So, 6 of us (Seng Chor, myself, ma-in-law, Huey Pin and the 2 babies) went round the relatives' home to distribute full moon gift packs. Jordan will share the details of the visitation in his blog.

Saturday was visitation day as well. This time is for Danny's relatives in Penang Island. One of his relatives gave us a wonderful durian treat. Yummy! This time, we didn't offer it to Jordan. After that, we went to town. One of the shops we visited was Hobi-Sports to see diving gear. Ironically, Seng Chor didn't buy anything but I bought. It was what I have always wanted - an army Swiss knife with scissors. Yeah!

On Sunday morning, we had dim sum in Penang Island with Uncle Tong, Xian Ko (pa-in-law's youngest sister) and their son Ming Wei. Before returning Butterworth, we visited their home. After lunch at home, Seng Chor, Jordan, Li San and parents-in-law went to Carrefour. We left for Bandar Utama after dinner around 7 pm.

Overall, I had a good time - did a bit of shopping, had my favorite fruit, visited relatives, enjoyed ma-in-law's cooking. Most thankfully, Jordan slept through the whole night every night in Penang. He must be really tired after being out the whole day. One significant thing that I did was to pray for the relatives as I carry the presence of God into each home. May God bless them. May they called upon the name of the Lord and be saved.

Quote of the Month (August)

"We don't do church. We are the church."

~ Pink-all-you-like ~