Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekend in Melaka

We spent our last weekend in Melaka conducting sessions at our bi-annual training weekend. As a friend was visiting from the USA this time, we stayed two days longer than we usually do. Following are some pictures from our trip. As always, our visits to Malaysia entail lots of good food and this time was not any different. We also discovered a cafe run by some Malaysian Chinese but serves up the best pizza I've had. This will not be a long post as we're getting ready to leave tonight to the US.
The main entrance to an old Chinese association:
The fabulous wood-fire pizza place:

Great friends, great food:
I'm all bloated from the pregnancy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Updates: Baby and apartment

We've two piece of good news: one, baby is doing great. We saw him on the ultrasound machine this morning and he was actively swimming and gulping in amniotic fluid! Not sure if the following scan pixs make any sense to you but basically the first one is a side view of him with his arm kind of over his head. The second one is a very faint frontal shot of his face. He was so much clearer and vivid on the scan machine screen.Second piece of good news is that we've found an apartment that we like. Located in the western part of the island-state, Clementi Heights is very accessible via the train and has all the amenities a family needs. Right behind the apartment blocks is a huge public swimming pool where we plan to bring baby to on a hot day. Now we can't wait to move into our new place and start setting up baby's room!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dowry and infanticide


The last two weeks had been good for me (I'Ching) and I'm suspecting that the sunny second trimester of my pregnancy has finally arrived - yay! I've hardly any serious migraine though my sinus still bothers me (apparently stuffy nose is a part of pregnancy). As of today, baby is 22 weeks old and growing fast!

My short trip to India was uneventful - in a good way. As always, I met interesting people along the way, had great food... The driver who works for RZIM India, Jabasingh, was also getting ready to be a father while I was there (they have since gotten a baby girl, born on the morning after I left Chennai).

When I first found out about his then-expecting wife, I ignorantly asked if they knew the gender of the baby. Of course not! I was reminded that in India, they don't tell you what gender the baby is for fear of infanticide and abortion.

In India, males are favored over females for many reasons. Dowry is one. You see, when a male is of age, his parents would find him a suitable wife. Families of potential brides would then have to meet the demands of the groom's family - usually in terms of cash or big item gifts (furniture, electrical appliances, animals, etc). Though the demand and giving of dowry has been illegalized in India, it is still very much practiced. Sometimes demands from potential grooms are so high that families with girls have to work and save for years to afford marrying their daughters to a husband of fine background.

Due to this, parents prefer to have sons rather than daughters. I hear that in some rural Indian villages, if a girl is born, the baby would be abandoned and left to die. And, if they found out that the unborn is a girl, they would abort the baby (as is practiced in China!). This is inhumane but so commonly practiced! As such, the Indian government tries to curb it by banning doctors from telling parents the gender of their unborn.

So imagine how surprised my India colleagues were when I told them that I know I'll be having a son!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beautiful boy

We went to the hospital for a detailed scan of the baby this morning. Unlike the routine scans we do at the doctor's, today's was to determine if baby's development is normal and all. Preliminary views seem to show that baby is normal - I was able to see his heart clearly, his mouth (this was to ensure there is no cleft palate), his feet, etc. The doctor had to measure his head, his foot, etc to see if they are growing normally. I am thankful to God and to all who prayed for us and our baby boy!

Brian was not allowed in with me initially - so only I saw most of the action. Baby was so active - he was moving around so much that it took the doctor quite a while to capture his face and foot. (By the way, from what I saw, I think he's got his daddy's flat feet and not my beautifully arched ones!) He was kicking and tumbling around inside endlessly. I first felt his movements a week back but they are getting more frequent progressively.

At 21 weeks old, he weighs 377 gms (13.3 ounces). We'll make sure to post some of the shots of the scan once we get them next week.

Meanwhile, on a totally unrelated note, some of you may find it odd to know that chicken feet is a delicacy here in Southeast Asia. The Chinese love 'em braised or stewed with mushroom while the Thais like 'em deboned in a salad.

My brave husband, after having tried them, said that they taste "okay" but it' too much work (ridding of the bones) for so little meat. He's right there but that's not really the point. Part of the fun in eating well-stewed chicken feet is in the great skill of deboning the feet in your mouth and then spitting out the bones. (This is easier demonstrated than described!)Anyhow, the reason why I'm bringing up the issue of chicken feet is that a few days ago, we passed by a restaurant getting the feet ready. There were hundreds of pairs of feet that were being deep fried! We thought some of you would get a kick out of the sight! Ah.., amazing Asia!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're moving - again!!!

When we moved from our 3-bedroom, over 1,000 sq ft apartment to our current 2-bedroom 600+ sq ft place, we did not expect to be successful in having a baby so soon. But our needs have changed now that I'm almost 5-month pregnant. Other than the need for a baby room, we will require a guest room for the many family members who will be visiting once our son comes along (yes, it will be a boy!).

So, after having weighed all the options, we have decided that we'll move in December when both Brian and my schedule will be slightly freer. Besides, we would be traveling quite a bit from next week till the third week of November (India, Malaysia and then the US) and would not have the time to pack and move. We have started looking, though, for a larger place. With the economy dampening, we are hoping that rental would fall from its unreal height, making it possible for us to afford a decent place. Much awaits us in the next few months...