Monday, February 27, 2006

I've moved!

Please visit my new home for my blog. See you there!

This site is refurbished to house the press clippings that featured my books. If I don't blow my own horn, who'll do it for me? Sigh, the things authors do for the sake of their books.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Book PR Queen

That's Yvonne Lee, best-selling author of The Sky is Crazy. I really have to hand it to her. If you check out her website, you'll find no less than TWO DOZEN appearances in the media and if I'm not mistaken, they're all in a span of three months. Not only that, her book when into reprint three months after its release. What a fantastic achievement!

Under the quotes page, Yvonne's husband said, "To author a book is one thing. To author a book that's a best seller is quite another." Ouch! I can feel the sting. I fall under that "one thing" category whereas Yvonne's under the "another" category. I've authored two books. The first one bombed, the second one is p-l-o-d-d-i-n-g along, sigh.

I'm going to ask Yvonne to be my sifu and impart some tips on how to go on a PR blitz for my next book. Surely the tables are turned now. How so? I got to know her when I contacted her husband to conduct a survey for my first book, Congratulations! You have won! They're both frequent contest winners. Then we started corresponding with each other. At that time, I'd been published in The Star and she was trying to break in. Though in her book she credited me as her mentor, I think I offered her more encouragement than writing advice.

Yvonne's a real go-getter and anything she sets her heart on doing, she'll get it done. That's why she's so successful. She's pretty and talented, a winning combination, I must say.

Now excuse me while I go hide under my blanket and wallow in self-pity. Nah, that's lame. I should get her web designer to design me a cool website just like hers. Only trouble is when it comes to the media section, it'll be as airy as my grandfather's drawers. The media didn't think I was good fodder. It's not their fault actually. I didn't try hard enough. I only walked half the mile. Perhaps with Yvonne's tutelage, that'll change and I'll become a media darling too, yeah, though not as much as she is.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Crabby Old Woman

I received this in the mail from Kathy. It's a poem about an old woman. I'm not yet a geriatric but I think it encapsulates well the feelings of an old person.

Sometimes we tend to dismiss old people as having little or no worth. We're impatient with them. We don't have time for them. They slow us down. We forget they've once been young. They've eaten more salt than we have rice. They have their own self-worth. They're aren't bags of left-overs to be tossed to the cats.

Be careful how we treat old people. Because that is how our offspring may treat us when we're wrinkled and bent. As the bible says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Treat old people with respect. That's not just an Asian value. It should be a universal value.


SOME GREAT WORDS OF WISDOM FROM LISA MORISON - well worth a read and reflection.

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near
Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that
copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food
And makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice
The things that you do,
And forever is losing
A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen
With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now
A lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
That I promised to keep

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman
And nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigour depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living
Life over again.

I think of the years
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer . . . see ME!!

Friday, February 17, 2006


A blah! week since last Friday when mum was warded for unstable angina. She was discharged the next day. She has a heart condition brought on by hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Took her to UMMC for a doctor's appointment yesterday and scheduled an angiogram in March. Here's some info on what an angiogram is all about. I've reproduced it here.

A coronary angiogram (or arteriogram) is an x-ray of the arteries located on the surface of the heart (the coronary arteries). It helps the physician to see if any of those arteries are blocked, usually by fatty plaque. If so, the patient An angiogram is an imaging test used to visualize the size, shape and location of blood vessels.may be diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD).

A coronary angiogram is often conducted along with other catheter–based tests as part of cardiac catheterization, which also includes measuring blood pressure, taking samples for blood tests, and a left ventriculogram.

During an angiogram, the physician injects a special dye (contrast medium) into the coronary arteries. To do that, the physician inserts a thin tube (catheter) through a blood vessel, usually in the upper thigh, and guides it all the way up to the heart. Once the catheter is in place, the physician can inject the dye through the catheter and into the coronary arteries. Then the x–ray can be taken.

Although the physician typically numbs the area where he or she inserts the catheter, the patient is awake for the entire procedure. The patient receives a mild sedative before the procedure and does not ordinarily feel the movement of the catheter within the blood vessels.Balloon angioplasty and stenting are procedures to increase blood flow through a narrowed artery.

Depending on what the angiogram shows, the physician may recommend treatments such as medication, a catheter-based procedure (e.g., balloon angioplasty, coronary stenting) or surgery (e.g., bypass surgery).

Here's a very detailed explanation on what happens during and after the angiogram.

We'll get a clear picture when the angiogram's done. Are there blockages in the arteries? If so, how many? She's a likely candidate for heart attack but she says her heart is okay. I hope her optimism is rewarded.

P/S : I know this sounds so clinical and cold but I'm not in the mood to write something emotional.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ode to Sunset

This is a poem I wrote for a Creative Writing Workshop by Prof. Archie Markham. It was organized by the British Council in 2000.

Lydia Teh

Orb in flaming copper hue,
so gingerly, so gently flowed
down hill.

Blue twill navy frill,
a patchwork stitched with skill,
orange, red, yellow,
purled in silky boundary,
a many coloured tapestry.

Seamless it moved
hues changed, texture bent,
silvery grey tinged fringe,
off and on they meandered
new designs they stitched

Inky net fell quietly
the girdled masterpiece within,
patterns, hues all obscured
nuances, shapes all eclipsed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Desperate Housewife

Coincidence can be downright weird. I just had a good dose of it.

See, I had sat down to write about me being a Desperate Housewife. That I'm not like any of the glamourous DHs on the drama series but if I had to choose one of them whom I resemble the most (not in terms of looks, okay, so don't flame me), I'd say it's Susan.

Then on a whim, I decided to check out their website, just to make sure I get all their names correct. So I logged on to their website and hey, there's a quiz on "Which Housewife are You?" I took the quiz and guess what's the verdict?

"Lydia is the Susan of Desperate Housewives."

"You always mean well but somehow things don't always work out as you'd planned. It doesn't matter. You take your tumbles with good grace and always come out smiling. But try to remember you're the grown-up in your family."

I took the quiz a second time with a slight variation in quiz questions and guess what? I'm still Susan.

This is really weird. I'd thought that I was like Susan because she was a writer and the most likable of all the DHs. I was always rooting for her.

Anyway, back to my original intent of writing this. I'm not like :

Bree because she's too neat and obssessed with housework and perfect cuisines.
Gabrielle because she's a devious slut.
Lynette because she's too confrontational and ambitious (but I can identify with the chaos with four kids).
Susan because she's a single mom and too dependent on her daughter (but she's a writer and she's nice and so am I).
Edie because she's not married, how can she be a housewife? Anyway, she's sluttier than Gabrielle though she has some other redeeming qualities.

If I have to choose which DH I am, I'd be a composite of Lynette and Susan.

Drama series aside, I really am a desperate housewife. The normal, unglamourous, clad in t-shirt-and-shorts type. What am I desperate for? In no particular order, I'm :

Desperate for money.
Desperate for a clean house.
Desperate for a get-away.
Desperate for a manicured garden.
Desperate for the kids to grow up.
Desperate for a movie which doesn't feature Robin Williams.
Desperate for hubby to walk in the door and say, "Honey, I'm home" and give me a peck on the cheek.
Desperate to write that best-seller.

With that last bit of desperation there, I'm out of this blog. For now.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Steaming Eggs

I don't usually cook rice in a rice-cooker. I steam them in a double boiler as I don't like to use one big pot which can cook up to 12 cups rice, to cook a measly 2.5 cups.

Recently my mother-in-law gave me a used rice-cooker. It's an old National model with a squat body and a stainless steel cover. I figured I might as well regress in my use of kitchen appliances as modern ones have let me down. I've scratched two non-stick rice cookers so badly that I dared not use them anymore for safety reasons.

Using an electric rice-cooker has its advantage. I can steam food on top of the rice. Steamed egg was on the menu for dinner today. So I cracked two eggs into a stainless steel plate, added in some hot water (just read somewhere that cold water makes the egg mixture froth) and salt. When the button popped up signifying that the rice was cooked, I quickly put the egg mixture on top of the rice. If I dawdle, the egg will not be done perfectly.

The steamed egg turned out beautifully. It had the smooth consistency of tau-foo-fah. Mmm... mmm... But it wasn't flawless. There were yellow specks of egg yolks. I should've beaten it more thoroughly.

Steaming egg in a rice cooker is the way to go. If steaming it in a wok, one has to keep the fire on low-to-medium. If the temperature becomes too hot, it curdles up the egg and makes it look like sandpaper.

Don't ask me for measurement. For everyday dishes, my cooking uses the agak-agak (approximate) method. If you're a novice, you may like to try out this recipe I found at Recipezaar. You may want to cut out the garnishing if you'd rather keep it simple.

Steamed egg

2 eggs, beaten
150 ml water
1 pinch white pepper powder
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon spring onions, chopped
2 teaspoons soya sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon tomatoes, chopped (to garnish)
1 teaspoon spring onions, chopped (green portion only, to garnish)

Method :

1. Beat eggs, one at a time, in a bowl.
2. Add water, salt and white pepper powder.
3. Pour into a serving bowl- preferably, stainless steel or ceramic.
4. Steam for 8 minutes.
5. Now heat oil in a pan.
6. Add garlic and spring onion.
7. Stir-fry for a few minutes till the raw smell of garlic is gone.
8. Remove from heat and put on the steamed egg.
9. Put soya sauce in a bowl.
10. Add water and sugar to the soya sauce and mix well.
11. Pour this mixture over the steamed egg.
12. Add a tsp.
13. of chopped tomato and a tsp.
14. of the green portion of the spring onions as a garnish and serve immediately.

If you have some crab sticks in your fridge, slice some into the egg mixture. Not only does it lend colour to the dish but it tastes yummy too.

Mystery of the Vanishing Entry

I posted a new entry last Saturday. It just disappeared into thin air. It wasn't on my blog at all. How did that happen? Just this morning, it was there. Even the link that I had put in the Category entry wasn't there.

Any cyber-sleuths out there who can solve this mystery?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Love Letters

I've got plenty of love letters. Don't you just envy me? I've got an entire Milo tin of them. They're in my pantry, waiting to be transferred into a cookie jar for guests who come a-calling during Chinese New Year. People who live in this part of the world know that these fan-shaped, crispy, sweet wafers are also called kuih kapit. But Love Letters sound nicer. At least folks who have never got a real love letter in their lives, can boast that they've got plenty of love letters and they get to eat them too.

February 14 is round the corner. It's just another day for hubby and me. We don't celebrate it, not when we were courting, not now. But many couples will be in a flurry, wording the perfect prose or poem to express their love. For those who are words-challenged, it doesn't matter that they can't pen a love letter to save their lives. The florists, confectioners and gift vendors are there to make life easy for them, for a price of course.

Happy Chinese New Year.