Play-By-Ear Guitar?

One weekend, we brought the kids out for dinner. After dinner, our daughter a toy acoustic guitar while our son asked for a water gun.

Kids being kids, they wanted to play with each other’s toys…anyway, we ended up buying another water gun.

The acoustic guitar?

Interestingly, my robot-Lego-b-Daman-Transformers crazy kid kept himself busy fiddling with the tuning pegs, the strings and did a bit of strumming.

Since I am *always* busy with cooking, cleaning, laundry or homework, I was just relieved to see him having a nice, relaxing time.

Surprise, surprise…he came running excitedly into the kitchen while I was stir-frying a veg or something:

“Mummy, mummy! Look, I can play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ ” on the guitar!”

True enough, he plucked out the song on the little, toy guitar :D

I thought that was really cool – one of my colleagues shared with me that he’d taught himself how to play the guitar when he was teenager.

Hmm…maybe it’s time for an early investment in a fender acoustic guitar for the budding rock star? ;-)

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Hacked! Spammed!

Hello, hello especially to those out there who are still following this blog :)

First, you’ll notice the “comments off”. As much as I love discussions on the blog posts, I have disabled comments because I’ve had harrowing months of SPAM, with an interesting range of stuff and services from China, Japan, Russia (???).

Oh my God, if you’ve ever been spammed, you’ll know how frantic I was when I got 100s of new “comment” notifications via email by the minute!!!

As smug as I seem to be, I know that this lil ole blog ain’t that popular ;-)

Next, in view of how boring this blog has become, I was horrified to find out one morning that it had been hacked!

How did I know?

Well, random codes and text started appearing in my posts and then I also noticed additional plug-ins and stuff in my dashboard.

Thankfully, my webhost sorted it out after I alerted him.

The house is still not in order because I have a “Mystery of the Disappearing Plug-ins” on my hands now.

Sigh, I hope that my webhost can fix this too coz I love my blog and I love to blog.

Lazy Cat (懶惰貓)

In English, if someone is lazy, they’d be called an ass (a donkey).

In Chinese, if someone is lazy, they’d be called a lazy cat or a lazy worm!

In fact, there are children’s songs sung about these lazy animals :)

I’d agree on the lazy cat since I dislike cats but a lazy worm? That’s a new one to me. Plus the fact that I dislike anything slimy, I find the concept of “lazy worm” particularly repulsive. I’ll take the lazy cat, thank you.

If this post offends any animal lovers out there, please excuse me – my childhood did not include house pets of any kind other than the stray dogs my late Chinese grandmother used to feed kitchen scraps with.

Ahh…those stray dogs. I think we only named one of them – “Blackie” (oh dear, I am afraid this may be offensive too) because it was a midnight black dog who was exceptionally friendly.

My late Chinese grandmother was very loving towards them because she would mix up a mush of leftover rice, bones and other kitchen scraps with her bare hands and set it out in a huge metal bowl for them. If I recall, she even had a bowl of water for the dogs.

She was careful to maintain a 1:1 balance of rice:meat because she noticed that the dogs would shed their hair when the meat ratio went up. Besides that, she also excluded fish bones for fear of the dogs choking on them.

Yes, I would say that my dear old Amah loved those animals. And the dogs loved her too for they would bark happily whenever she went out with that bowl of mush.

Would she pay for prescription ped meds? It’s hard to say because my Amah was a very, very, very thrifty old lady. She would hate to see anyone suffering though. She couldn’t even stand the sound of a baby/child crying.

As you can see, I like dogs to cats. Yup, I definitely do not like cats, especially lazy ones!

You can speak Mandarin?!

One of the best things about learning a foreign language is surprising the native speakers :)

It’s twice the fun when it’s least expected of you hehehe

You see, I put on a poker face when I am at work.

I’ve been working with a group of Chinese for a few weeks and they had been happily chattering away in Mandarin, much to the dismay of others around them.

Finally, I spoke up in Mandarin and encouraged them to speak in English if they really wanted to be part of the general meeting.

They were dumbstruck!

One laughed, another smiled but one was truly shocked.

No. 1 asked, “You can speak Mandarin? Can you understand what we say?”

“Yes.” (patient)

No. 2 asked, “You can really speak Mandarin? You can understand Mandarin?”

“Yes…but I’m not that good.” (confidence slightly shaken)

No. 3 asked, “YOU CAN SPEAK MANDARIN?! YOU CAN HEAR WHAT WE SAY?! YOU KNOW WHAT WE SAY?! OH MY GAWD!!!”

Given the range of reactions, maybe it’s a bad idea to stun the mainland Chinese with my foreign language prowess.

Thankfully, he calmed down but he was disturbed by the fact that I understood all their conversations. Since most of their conversations were general topics, I don’t see a big deal.

Then again, how do I announce it?

I’m not really the selfie, show-off type.

Maybe I should wear a tag, “I speak Mandarin” next time LOL

“Freedom” by Wham!

In the early 80s, the WHAM! duo, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s visited Beijing, China.

If you watch the video, you’ll see unedited shots of the group:
– touring around the streets of Beijing,
– a climb up the Great Wall of China,
– shots of Tiananmen Square plus
– a lot of clowning around by the popular duo, which included some nice shots of their female back-up singers having fun during dress rehearsals.

I love music and I love how fun-loving Americans can be!

Seriously, if there’s anything good that’s coming out of America, it has to be music and the American “can-do” attitude.

If anyone knows how to operate a Korg SDD-3000, an American is bound to be one of them.

In fact, one of my American colleagues had strongly encouraged me to sign my son up for guitar lessons back when he was around 6…

Well, this is easier said than done.

Recently, he surprised me by plucking out “Twinkle, twinkle little star” on a toy guitar – I guess I should step up my search!

Lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival

Last year, we started our “Mid-Autum Festival” celebrations :)

First, I brought the kids to buy a paper lantern each. The big boy chose a Dragon for himself while the little girl opted for a Fish.

I can’t remember if I bought them mooncakes or not.

All I know is that we were quite busy with a lantern making competition at school!

At night, I helped them fix the candles into the lanterns and then we sat back to watch the warm glow in the warmth of their bedroom hahaha:

The following night, we joined in the “Mid-Autumn Festival” potluck celebration organized by the residents at our apartment.

To be honest, I found it boring because I only knew a few people there who were kind enough to chat with me for most of the evening. That’s the price you pay for being away for so long!

Anyway, the kids had some fun walking with their lanterns until the part where a naughty boy SNATCHED and BROKE the bamboo sticks for carrying the lanterns.

Since I was sitting down enjoying the fresh air, I didn’t see the kid who did that. Both of the kids were upset by it but since I couldn’t do it anything about it, I asked them if they’d still like to hang around.

They wanted to go home and that’s that.

This year, my son reminded me that we must celebrate “Mid-Autumn Festival” by:
i) lighting up the lanterns – need to look for new sticks!
ii) eating moon cakes – he’s already asked me to save one of the lotus paste ones for that special night and
iii) appreciating the beauty of the moon

Wow, my late grandmother (and his paternal grandmother) would be so proud of him for being sooo Chinese :)

Furthermore, the children’s daycare have also invited parents and children to celebrate the “Mid-Autumn Festival” together and we are looking forward to that!