Happy Mother’s Day

Today at 13th May is when you appreciates your mother exclusively. In the culture and family where I grew up, it is not norm to express myself openly. Back in the days, it was awkward for give her a hug not to mention my appreciation for her verbally. The physical intimacy is beyond me. On the other hand, my late grandma was everything but the above. I remembered how I would tell her how I wish she didn’t have to go by the end of the visit. Never had I ever said the same to my mom when she visited.

My relationship with my mom remains close nonetheless. We just don’t speak the unsaid. There was once we got her a bouquet of roses on Mother’s Day and her response was “What a waste of money’. From there, I decided it is best to ask her what she would like or get her favorite food. I have booked my next trip back home and I asked if she would like to have a durian feast. Her response on WhatsApp was ‘Mao San Wang’. She sure is high maintenance, lol.

I did an exercise with her recently. In this conversation, I given her the permission to be honest and truthful. These are the following prompt questions;

1. What are the things that you appreciated about me?

She was stuck in the beginning so I prompted what memories came to mind to get her started.

2. What are the things you would like to see me do more of?

She started with my bad habit which I had to pause her. The key is to focus on existing qualities that she believes can be further stretch to be a better me.

It was amazing what I heard – coming from my very mom who has never said any of those to me. Whilst I have heard of it through others, it made a whole lot of difference coming directly from her.

When you are ready, you may give it a try and let me know how it feels after.

To all mothers, have a good day ahead and enjoy the pampering. If you are not being spoilt, what is stopping you from spoiling yourself?

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Choice

How often do you listen to others? We often call that feedback.

How often do you listen to yourself? We commonly known this as inner voice, gut feel or instinct.

For many who has a lot going on in mind, the noises in our head may be heightened or suppressed. Often I’m asked what should it be. My response is neither but to be aware of it. And when you are ready, you may ask yourself what would you like to do about it. It is a journey that we need time to process. If there is an answer for today, we are resolving the present. It may return again in the future to confront us. Then we start the cycle again. Are you aware of it being repeating? What do you do then?

Here’s a fact, the journey to process is not going to be an easy ride if you have a lot to process. Once you get the wheel going, it gets easier over time. What’s your choice? Ultimately, it is a personal choice and most importantly there is no right or wrong. You will be the best judge for it. If you are ready, you have a decision. If you are not ready, you know what to do too. Back to what I was saying….being aware of it. Have that conversation with yourself. It’s no different to have a meeting with others to make a decision for a project, business or life decision.

Below is a TED talk that I find insightful on a similar topic.

Be the change you want to be

Life choices – are you making it or letting it make you? When you are ready….have a moment to reflect, what is stopping you to be what you want to be?

Below is an insightful poem written by Portia Nelson. I hope it is as impactful to you as it was to me.

Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost…

I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in…it’s a habit

My eyes are open; I know where I am;

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Compulsion

I was on the bus heading home after work. It was a short ride but a few observations got me thinking and reflect on self.

At the traffic light, I saw my bus approaching. Once the green man starting blinking, I told myself to take my time. I can always wait for the next one. I made it across the road at normal walking pace. By the time I was 50 meters away from the bus stop, I started to run. I made it.

Now let’s rewind…..If I had not made it or there wasn’t an approaching bus, I would have waited like any other time. And use my phone to check for the bus arrival time. What was the rush?

On the bus, there was a mother with a young baby in front of her chest on a carrier. Whilst her baby was fascinated with what was outside the window and making sound, the mother remain hooked to her mobile phone. I turned to look out of the window on my side, there was a car with three people in it. In the car, there were two bright screens…mobile phone screens. A young boy was playing on his phone at the back seat. Possibly the mother, whom was at the front seat using her phone to search on Google. When was the last time you had a car conversation?

I looked back into the bus…I was holding my mobile phone in my left hand. As I turned my head around, I see plenty more people holding their mobile phone in their hand. And a handful others playing on the phone.

When was the last time you left your phone aside and enjoyed yourself in the moment? If I am home with my family, I do not feel a strong compulsion to check my phone regularly. I am making connections with loved ones and there is no need to connect with a phone.

My thoughts for the day….Most people nowadays get hooked with social media, gossips, online chats, dating sites etc. It gives a false sense of intimacy and how much do you know the person on the other side. Are you truly communicating? What happens to the conventional human interaction?

Tip: Cleaning a Longchamp

In real life, I am an engineer and I seems to be fixing things even before I got qualified. It ranges from setting up the radio station for my mother on her Hi-Fi, fixing a bread maker to recent event….getting rid of a musty smelly Longchamp bags. The former was much easier with reading up on the manual and a bit of pressing the buttons. The latter require a lot of patience and arm work! My lovely sister does have a habit of leaving things untouched for long period of time. High humidity speeds up the growth of these fungi on canvas.

I was tasked to fix the musty devil. And I strike a good deal…in return I get one of the bags which is no longer sold in store. So, it is known to some that Longchamp bag, the canvas ones, attract mildew. Often been mistakenly called – mold. Mildew and mold are both fungi. In short, mildew is the lesser of the two evils. Mildew is grayish white and typically flat powdery look on the surfaces. Mold on the other hand is much darker in color and you are talking about nasty spores that can cause health issues.

So, how do you rid of mildew on Longchamp canvas? Not only was their stains all over the surfaces, it had musty smell! I google for solution. There are various method being offer by various sources.

First attempt

Mild detergent in warm water and use it to wipe down the canvas surfaces with clean towel. This is good for large surfaces clean up of the mildew. However, the musty smell remain.

Second attempt

I rinse the canvas quickly with a fresh batch of mild detergent in warm water. It didn’t do much to the smell.

Third attempt

Baking soda is great with many things but I was concerned that it may stain the surfaces. I mixed baking soda in warm water and use it to wipe the bag surface with a towel. Majority of the smell was removed. There were some stubborn ones by the zip area. There is no need to be concerned about the white stain left by the baking soda.

Final attempt

An old toothbrush and lots of baking soda. I wet the toothbrush and stick it into the baking soda. Then I scrubbed the stubborn areas. Bingo….the smell is gone!

Conclusion:

1. To remove of the mildew, towel down using mild detergent in warm water.

2. To remove musty smell and mildew, pour baking soda all over the area and towel down using warm water.

3. To rid of the final stubborn smell, brush it with lots of baking soda.

The canvas material stands up to the scrubbing with no visual scratch observed. Drying the bags afterward was straightforward. Just hang it up in area that is fully ventilated. Whilst sources on the Internet suggest drying takes days, it was dry enough for use leaving out to dry overnight.