Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Second Baby Files 1: It exists!

So it happened last October that we woke up one morning to the sound of our bedroom door opening and closing and the soft plop of our intruder onto our bed. I know what you're thinking: it's Isobel. And this is another predictable post on Izzie, full of gratuituous pictures that only obsessed parents and selected babyphiles appreciate. Hah! You'd be wrong! Because our intruder was not a berserk 2-year-old, it was a little plastic contraption. It was this:

Fergus: What's that babe and how did it get here?
Athalia: I dunno. Have you been feeding weird animals outside again?
Fergus: Only the stray cats. This has nothing to do with stray cats, does it?
Athalia: Doesn't look like it. 

So we shopped this around a few of our friends and we were told this means we're having another baby! Is that right?? Well we sure as heck didn't think we'd be told this way. But yes, it turns out to be true. We visited our not-so neighbourhood professorial obstetrician, he pulled out his iPhone, pointed it at Athalia's tummy, fiddled around with Instagram and came back to us with something that looks like this:

My word, that looks like it's been in there for years! 

So yes. We'll be having another child. It's gonna be twice the everything and a lot of economics of scale. More people to wash the bathroom, do ironing and rinse the dishes too. Muahahaa!

Next on The Second Baby Files: Hamburger or Sausage?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The big, red and prosperous CNY

It has always been incumbent on us during CNY to get out and make a festival out of several continuous non-working days. So we figured we had our work cut out for us when conversations like these started becoming the norm:

Athalia: Isobel, let's go out for a walk. 
Isobel: I dowan to go for walk. I wan to stay at home. 

Isobel, is that you taking a selfie of yourself sleeping?? Give Papa back his phone. No no. 

Okay. So the little girl wants to stay at home a lot these days. It'a not as if she doesn't rock it out, though. 

Here she is, sending out her babypheromones to the talent scouts of the blogosphere. They don't exist, Bellabel. Quick, drink your milk properly. Papa wants to sleep already. 

So we headed out, and what better way to prepare for days an days of gluttony than to make a date with the king of fruits?

Here she is, drunk on durian kampung. Do you see that guiltless face? That is a face that has not grasped the concept of 5 seconds on the lips, 5 years on the hips. Fast forwars a few days, it's CNY and...

Isobel, what on earth?? Did you finish all of Uncle SK's mango chocolate?? No no. No more, sweetheart. 

Guiltless, remorseless, gluttaneous. Her semblance to her mother really knows no limits. 

Athalia: Oi. 
Fergus: What oi?
Athalia: I saw that. 
Fergus: I'm building up a story arc. Dun kacau. 

Ok where was I?

Oh yes. CNY and finding an impetus to get out. We did, yes. Since my very best CNY memories were all made in Muar, we figured it wasn't too much to trek a coupla hours south to spend a few hours with the Ong clan. 

Here she is, not really diggin that Mandrin collar scene. 

And here she is absolutely diggin staircase-time larking about with her second-cousin Charmaine. 

In fact, Izzie seems to dig staircase time with or without companions. Here she is, back at home. 

And here she is, discovering that an old house in Muar with a garden, lots of grass, a real cat and brilliant blue skies is a lot more fun than staying at home in Subang Jaya. I don't know about big, red and prosperous, but it's been a fun-enough CNY for us all!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome back

Welcome back, friends. Boy oh boy has life moved on since those glorious days, when this blog was being kept and its readers kept entertained. Well, here's a big puff on the cobwebs and OMG TAKE THAT BABY THING AWAY FROM ME!!


As a matter of fact, that's our babygirl Isobel and she's seen here doing her best impression of a Hollywood actress facing the paparazzi while coming out of a restaurant in Paris after a candle-lit dinner with her new unnamed continental beau. Or something like that. Fast forward a few months...

There she is with her first truly guilty face. That face, of course, may or may not be due in part to the wall putty that she has on both her hands and legs. No no, Isobel. Papa spank. 

Here she is trying to bore a hole through the camera lens while out in the sun. This girl quickly developed a liking for grass, bugs, soil, leaves, butterflies and sunlight. And life can just zip by when you're having so much fun and suddenly... 


Athalia: Fergus, can you stop shouting at our readers? This joke isn't even funny. 

Ok not quite. As in, not quite 17 years old (and not 'not quite funny') but my word, do they grow up quick. Next thing I know she's giving boys The Look. 

What look? 

This look. 

If you are over the age of 45 and have experience raising up daughters who are raging tempests of seductive good looks, I need to speak with you. Please call me back within the next 9 years!

But of course, my babygirl is more often bookish than she is hiao. Here she is, connecting with her inner intellectual. 

And here she is being everything her proud Papa adores. Welcome back, my friends. Let the reglorification of these days begin!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Economy of storytelling

I think I'm going to enjoy storytelling at bedtimes. I already have an assortment of plots, characters, motifs and even antagonists. I'll just need to string them into fantastical stories where Isobel is the heroine and teach her, with each yarn, something about being brave, persistent, faithful, or obedient.

Problem is, my story arcs are still too complex for her - I'll need to simplify things while peacetimes by her crib are as fleeting as that at a middle eastern border. Cos for two nights now, as soon as I get into the actual plot, Izzie goes on a berserker trail and my award-winning tale never enters Scene 02. Fast stories from now on, Fergus. Five sentences - max. Ah, what fond memories. Economy of words is every writer's first lesson.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We had a good thing going on here, but we let it die. For far to long. So the hubs challenged me yesterday. "You have the time. Write one paragraph posts, it's not hard."

It's true. I really do have the time (babies sleep a lot), and one paragraph isn't hard. I just need to think in small chunks instead of epic ambitions. Note to self: the same applies for all those DIY/craft/sewing projects I've pinned on my Pinterest.

Ps: Today I spun my favourite Christmas album, Wintersong. The year is drawing to an end so quickly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A brief explanation on our absence - no, really

I know. I know. We've been away for a long, long time. But it's not really because we've been nestling into married life and forgetting that we have a blog and that children are going hungry in first world countries turning away their dinners in exchange for "a few more minutes" of refreshing These Glorious Days because "maybe they will update something soon". No, of course not.

In fact, the main reason why we have not been blogging is because on the way back from our honeymoon, we were kidnapped by the Thai mafia right off the Karak highway, blindfolded and sold to Myanmar where we were then trained to become child soldiers. Yes, and when they IDed us and discovered that we were not in fact children, they sent us to Laos, where a monastery of Buddhist monks awaited our arrival to commence what was to be a six-year course in translating Pali scriptures into Hebrew, which didn't make sense to us cos we know neither language, but we thought we'd play alon-

Athalia: Ooh, you're updating our blog!
Fergus: Yes, finally.
Athalia: Are you telling them our story?
Fergus: Of course.
Athalia: Don't forget about the lambs in Karachayevsk.
Fergus: Slowly, slowly.

So where was I? Yes, we thought we'd just play along, but when we got there, there were no monks, no books, no translators, just a goatherd who offered to sell us some electronics on the cheap, which we did eventually buy - but only out of charity. Unbeknownst to us, though, somewhere in the depths of the crappy plastic mp4 player was a chip so sought after by various illegal stakeholders and steakholders (this will become clear later) that within minutes of our goodwill purchase, we were nabbed once more, flung into a Hummer and driven for days and nights with stops only for toilet break (us) and cigarettes (them). I wasn't clever enough to recognise what they were saying but Athalia knew at once that they were speaking in Uzbek - not just any Uzbek but that from the region surrounding Oktyabr'skiy.

True enough, when we had the sacks lifted off our heads, there we were, outside a deli in where else but Oktyabr'skiy, Uzbekistan, fending for our lives and being questioned by large bearded men with whisky breath about what must have been our possession of the dinky mp4 player with the prized chip. Before we knew it, there was a police siren, a group of feminists dressed as multi-coloured octopuses (I kid you not), a Hasidic Rabbinic scholar, two Taiwanese Ah Lians and the butcher from the deli running out with a steak in one hand and a cleaver in another - all of them, read my lips, all of them, entered into a melee for the chip.

We were lucky enough to escape that disaster but unlucky enough to have ran into a dog farm, where we were chased, bitten and hounded for hours and kilometers by furious canine, whom we later deduced were only really acting out of fear of being exported to China as beef, but all the bite wounds did wear us down till we found refuge in a village, and reluctantly received treatment by a one-headed faith healer (who branded herself as a two-headed faith healer, but we could tell that one of her heads was fake), who then wrote us a referral letter for another goatherd (what's with these goatherds!) who would continue our treatment.

Half dead and half exhausted, we were kindly put on a travelling wagon on which we must have passed out for days, and when we did eventually come to it, we were in Karachayevsk, somewhere in godforsaken Russia, where lambs - about thirty to forty of them - had been and still were licking our wounds till they healed. In fact, I remember now that while being licked by those lambs, I pulled out my phone, got on some 3G service and blogged to say we were alive, wait let me check when was that - September 11th, omg could it not be any more ominous! But yes, so while we were being licked by lots and lots of baby goats, we were told of the curative qualities of their saliva and that we-

Athalia: Ah, I see you are writing about the lambs in Karachayevsk!
Fergus: Indeed, I am!
Athalia: Cool. I'll leave you to it.

What was I saying again? Yes, and that we were on the brink of death and were saved by these lambs because of enzymes in their saliva and something else in Russian that neither of us understood or even remembered. Days turned into weeks an weeks into a month and by mid-October, we were eventually well enough to get off the lamb licking treatment. Magically, we still had both our credit cards with us and after another wagon trip to the nearest city, which neither of us remembers now, we took a train to Moscow, flew to Frankfurt where we then got an Air Asia flight back home, which got delayed till about three days ago - during which we met several another men at the airport also selling cheap electronics, all of which we were very careful not to buy.

Eventually we did get on the plane from Frankfurt and reached KL like last night, wait no, two nights ago - what's happening to my brains - and Athalia was saying all the way back from Germany that we must, must, must not forget that we have a readership on These Glorious Days who have been waiting for so long to hear from us and we cannot dally any longer to explain to them why we've been missing for so long. And so, my friends, we are back - bruised, scattered, resurrected from near extinction and released from numerous captivities, and we are so glad to be back on this blog with you to tell you all about what's been happening in our lives since we got married.

The end.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We may not have been blogging much, but we are very much ALIVE!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We are married!

(Deep breath.)

We are married!


We are married! We have survived the wedding - more than that, maybe even thrived through the wedding! And why stop there - we've even made it back from our honeymoon alive! And fat!

Yes, we have been married now for a week and three days and the entire behemoth is nestling itself comfortably into our respective and shared existences. There is much to say about the wedding - so much, in fact, that an old adage told us we could save on every thousand words by posting a picture for it. Which we will do. But that will take time, cos bridal photographers need time to crunch all the raw photos into what you will soon see here. Patience my friends - the story will follow.

In the meantime, a quick table of contents on what is to follow in the next few days and weeks.

Chapter 1. Matching phones // In one of their first consumerist acts as a married couple, Fergus & Athalia get themselves matching Nokia E5s.

Chapter 2. Wedding stories // The spotlight shines on some of the most memorable narratives from the wedding.

Chapter 3. Wedding photos // The remaining few thousands of words will be compressed here.

Chapter 4. East coast travelogue // Two delinquents on a trunk road with only hedonism on their minds.

Chapter 5. West coast travelogue // Two families meet at a riverside town and enjoy a night out under the stars canopy.

Keep reading!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


... we're getting married in four days.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Funny dancing penguin cards

Yes, it's high time for some wedding updates. Especially as we might get some traffic here now that our cards are going out! Plus, it's suddenly now less than a month away now. Glup!

Most importantly, our cards are FINALLY done and hoo boy, what a ride that has been.

The cards were only sent to print on Thursday, picked up on Friday afternoon, and we spent the weekend addressing, stamping and bundling the first batch along with figuring out how to get them out to as many people on our list as possible. But lets rewind a bit and look at how it all came about, which was an arduous process that took about 1,000 revisions and then some.

We originally had a Polaroid concept in mind, but at some point I picked up a box of vintage Penguin book cover postcards from Borders. Admittedly, I had no real justification for buying it other than a vague idea of stringing it up as deco for our wedding? House? Something? But a few weeks later, Fergs was messing around on the comp and said, "Hey, what if we use the design for our cards?"

Iconic, British, retro, literary. Qualities we like. It was a resounding yes!

That was settled quickly and painlessly enough. Then I said "I love patterns can we please have patterns please patterns are pretty, please." So Fergs gamely tried his hand using a book of patterns I had as reference, also from Borders.

Now lets pretend this is a movie, and a whole montage of pattern and colour combinations will now proceed to play. But long story short, I felt that each combination we tried didn't work as a whole. In most cases, it was hard to say why or how to fix it. So eventually, we roped in our superduper graphic designer Wei Yu and she helped us out immensely, reillustrating the penguins, drawing us some new patterns so the set finally looked cohesive and helping us with the alignment for printing, printing contacts and so many other little details that she deserves a giant penguin trophy. Plus she was super patient with us even when we delayed on the copy for the back. Hip hip hooray!

Ah yes, our copy. We knew that we didn't want to use a conventional template, and anyway the postcard layout wouldn't fit it. It needed something more compact and friendly-sounding, but it was hard to find the right tone and decide what information really needed to be included. For example, we didn't put any maps in on the assumption that people will just google or ask. Also, we didn't put our contact numbers because we everyone should have them already. In the end, we had to write a few versions before we settled on a style that still sounded like a postcard but was also proper enough for aunties.

The final touch was when Wei Yu suggested sticking stamps on, and I remembered that the weekend antique flea market in Amcorp mall sold old stamps for 10 cents a piece! Some of the stamps date back from as far as the 70s and are from countries that don't exist any more, or carry values from currencies that don't exist any more (for example, East Germany, Yugoslavia and the European currencies before the Euro was introduced). I love the romance of getting a piece of another country from another era and imagining the correspondence that stamp was originally on.

In fact, my role was to select and stick on the stamps, and it was a lot of fun matching stamps to people we knew - either countries they liked, have visited or had some connection with. I am proud to disclose that Fergs has done a marvellous job of hand-lettering all the wedding cards, and he is the only guy I have ever known to do that. It's a joy to sit side-by-side working and see the little piles of cards neatly tied together grow.

I love how our cards sound and look and feel completely us.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June in pictures

The month of June came and went, and in many ways, was characterised by the World Cup. We got our living room up to scratch progressively so that by the time the knockout stages had come along, all our new lights were beaming from the ceilings. June also saw the arrival of some key appliances - some whose stories are told here, others whom we'll talk about another day. Here is our June in pictures.

The big box came in just before the World Cup, which we watched on projector all month!

Every good tournament needs its corresponding decorations!

Our pick of toilet-inspired Penguin postcards! You haven't seen the last of this yet!

A poster of Italian cities on postcards. It was from a Singaporean shop and we must return for more!

Our collection of retro glasses, half of which were picked up from flea markets. Spot the Ikea ones!

Athalia's Pixar lamp, illuminating our study room for the first time.

My cell members gave me like a billion dollars worth of Ikea vouchers for my birthday - and it went into this!

Say goodbye to the dobi - here's my jeans hanging out after its first domestic wash. Bliss...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hitler reacts to Germany vs England

This is a video I made to commemorate England's survival in the World Cup - the one where they ran directly into the warpath of age-old rivals Germany. These Hitler videos have been remixed to no end on Youtube, but it's always still a lot of fun. So here's my contribution to that scene. Hehe.

Enjoy the video, and if you like it, help us send it out to all your friends!

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