Monday, October 31, 2011

A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs ~ From The New York Times

I love to read about what family members think of the late super stars or celebrities. This is one of the best read ever because of Simpson's wonderful writing skills.....

This was taken from here:

I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif. I hoped he would be rich and kind and would come into our lives (and our not yet furnished apartment) and help us. Later, after I’d met my father, I tried to believe he’d changed his number and left no forwarding address because he was an idealistic revolutionary, plotting a new world for the Arab people.

Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.

By then, I lived in New York, where I was trying to write my first novel. I had a job at a small magazine in an office the size of a closet, with three other aspiring writers. When one day a lawyer called me — me, the middle-class girl from California who hassled the boss to buy us health insurance — and said his client was rich and famous and was my long-lost brother, the young editors went wild. This was 1985 and we worked at a cutting-edge literary magazine, but I’d fallen into the plot of a Dickens novel and really, we all loved those best. The lawyer refused to tell me my brother’s name and my colleagues started a betting pool. The leading candidate: John Travolta. I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.

When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif. 

We took a long walk — something, it happened, that we both liked to do. I don’t remember much of what we said that first day, only that he felt like someone I’d pick to be a friend. He explained that he worked in computers. 

I didn’t know much about computers. I still worked on a manual Olivetti typewriter.
I told Steve I’d recently considered my first purchase of a computer: something called the Cromemco.
Steve told me it was a good thing I’d waited. He said he was making something that was going to be insanely beautiful. 

I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him. They’re not periods of years, but of states of being. His full life. His illness. His dying.
Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day. 

That’s incredibly simple, but true. 

He was the opposite of absent-minded. 

He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures. If someone as smart as Steve wasn’t ashamed to admit trying, maybe I didn’t have to be. 

When he got kicked out of Apple, things were painful. He told me about a dinner at which 500 Silicon Valley leaders met the then-sitting president. Steve hadn’t been invited. 

He was hurt but he still went to work at Next. Every single day. 

Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was. 

For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal. If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them. In the Palo Alto house, there are probably enough black cotton turtlenecks for everyone in this church.
He didn’t favor trends or gimmicks. He liked people his own age. 

His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.” 

Steve always aspired to make beautiful later. 

He was willing to be misunderstood. 

Uninvited to the ball, he drove the third or fourth iteration of his same black sports car to Next, where he and his team were quietly inventing the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee would write the program for the World Wide Web. 

Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.
Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?” 

I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.” 

When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored. 

None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing. 

His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.
Steve had been successful at a young age, and he felt that had isolated him. Most of the choices he made from the time I knew him were designed to dissolve the walls around him. A middle-class boy from Los Altos, he fell in love with a middle-class girl from New Jersey. It was important to both of them to raise Lisa, Reed, Erin and Eve as grounded, normal children. Their house didn’t intimidate with art or polish; in fact, for many of the first years I knew Steve and Lo together, dinner was served on the grass, and sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb. 

Even as a young millionaire, Steve always picked me up at the airport. He’d be standing there in his jeans.
When a family member called him at work, his secretary Linetta answered, “Your dad’s in a meeting. Would you like me to interrupt him?” 

When Reed insisted on dressing up as a witch every Halloween, Steve, Laurene, Erin and Eve all went wiccan. 

They once embarked on a kitchen remodel; it took years. They cooked on a hotplate in the garage. The Pixar building, under construction during the same period, finished in half the time. And that was it for the Palo Alto house. The bathrooms stayed old. But — and this was a crucial distinction — it had been a great house to start with; Steve saw to that. 

This is not to say that he didn’t enjoy his success: he enjoyed his success a lot, just minus a few zeros. He told me how much he loved going to the Palo Alto bike store and gleefully realizing he could afford to buy the best bike there. 

And he did. 

Steve was humble. Steve liked to keep learning. 

Once, he told me if he’d grown up differently, he might have become a mathematician. He spoke reverently about colleges and loved walking around the Stanford campus. In the last year of his life, he studied a book of paintings by Mark Rothko, an artist he hadn’t known about before, thinking of what could inspire people on the walls of a future Apple campus. 

Steve cultivated whimsy. What other C.E.O. knows the history of English and Chinese tea roses and has a favorite David Austin rose? 

He had surprises tucked in all his pockets. I’ll venture that Laurene will discover treats — songs he loved, a poem he cut out and put in a drawer — even after 20 years of an exceptionally close marriage. I spoke to him every other day or so, but when I opened The New York Times and saw a feature on the company’s patents, I was still surprised and delighted to see a sketch for a perfect staircase.
With his four children, with his wife, with all of us, Steve had a lot of fun.
He treasured happiness. 

Then, Steve became ill and we watched his life compress into a smaller circle. Once, he’d loved walking through Paris. He’d discovered a small handmade soba shop in Kyoto. He downhill skied gracefully. He cross-country skied clumsily. No more. 

Eventually, even ordinary pleasures, like a good peach, no longer appealed to him.
Yet, what amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away. 

I remember my brother learning to walk again, with a chair. After his liver transplant, once a day he would get up on legs that seemed too thin to bear him, arms pitched to the chair back. He’d push that chair down the Memphis hospital corridor towards the nursing station and then he’d sit down on the chair, rest, turn around and walk back again. He counted his steps and, each day, pressed a little farther. 

Laurene got down on her knees and looked into his eyes. 

“You can do this, Steve,” she said. His eyes widened. His lips pressed into each other.
He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man. 

I realized during that terrifying time that Steve was not enduring the pain for himself. He set destinations: his son Reed’s graduation from high school, his daughter Erin’s trip to Kyoto, the launching of a boat he was building on which he planned to take his family around the world and where he hoped he and Laurene would someday retire. 

Even ill, his taste, his discrimination and his judgment held. He went through 67 nurses before finding kindred spirits and then he completely trusted the three who stayed with him to the end. Tracy. Arturo. Elham.
One time when Steve had contracted a tenacious pneumonia his doctor forbid everything — even ice. We were in a standard I.C.U. unit. Steve, who generally disliked cutting in line or dropping his own name, confessed that this once, he’d like to be treated a little specially. 

I told him: Steve, this is special treatment. 

He leaned over to me, and said: “I want it to be a little more special.” 

Intubated, when he couldn’t talk, he asked for a notepad. He sketched devices to hold an iPad in a hospital bed. He designed new fluid monitors and x-ray equipment. He redrew that not-quite-special-enough hospital unit. And every time his wife walked into the room, I watched his smile remake itself on his face.
For the really big, big things, you have to trust me, he wrote on his sketchpad. He looked up. You have to.
By that, he meant that we should disobey the doctors and give him a piece of ice. 

None of us knows for certain how long we’ll be here. On Steve’s better days, even in the last year, he embarked upon projects and elicited promises from his friends at Apple to finish them. Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding. 

We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.
I suppose it’s not quite accurate to call the death of someone who lived with cancer for years unexpected, but Steve’s death was unexpected for us. 

What I learned from my brother’s death was that character is essential: What he was, was how he died.
Tuesday morning, he called me to ask me to hurry up to Palo Alto. His tone was affectionate, dear, loving, but like someone whose luggage was already strapped onto the vehicle, who was already on the beginning of his journey, even as he was sorry, truly deeply sorry, to be leaving us. 

He started his farewell and I stopped him. I said, “Wait. I’m coming. I’m in a taxi to the airport. I’ll be there.” 

“I’m telling you now because I’m afraid you won’t make it on time, honey.” 

When I arrived, he and his Laurene were joking together like partners who’d lived and worked together every day of their lives. He looked into his children’s eyes as if he couldn’t unlock his gaze.
Until about 2 in the afternoon, his wife could rouse him, to talk to his friends from Apple.
Then, after awhile, it was clear that he would no longer wake to us. 

His breathing changed. It became severe, deliberate, purposeful. I could feel him counting his steps again, pushing farther than before. 

This is what I learned: he was working at this, too. Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it.
He told me, when he was saying goodbye and telling me he was sorry, so sorry we wouldn’t be able to be old together as we’d always planned, that he was going to a better place.
Dr. Fischer gave him a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.
He made it through the night, Laurene next to him on the bed sometimes jerked up when there was a longer pause between his breaths. She and I looked at each other, then he would heave a deep breath and begin again. 

This had to be done. Even now, he had a stern, still handsome profile, the profile of an absolutist, a romantic. His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.
He seemed to be climbing. 

But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. 

Steve’s final words were: 


Mona Simpson is a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. She delivered this eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, on Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Song Sharing Sunday - 145 [Art Garfunkel - So Much In Love]

This song reminds me of a very close friend.
One who stood by me through thick and thin....literally.
One whom I can always count on.
One whom I love to sing with.
This was a song introduced to me by her long long time ago....

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So Much In Love ~ Art Garfunkel

So Much In Love Lyrics
as we stroll along together
holding hands walking all alone
so in love are we two
but we don't know what to do
so in love (so in love)
in a world of our own (so in love)

as we stroll by the sea together
under stars twinkling high above
so in love are we two
no one else but me and you
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so in love)
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so in love)

we stroll along together
i tell you, i need you oh so much
i love, love you my darling
can you tell it in my touch

when we walk down the aisle together
we will vow to be together till we die
so much love have we two
just can't wait to say i do

so in love (so in love)
are you and I (you and I)
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so much in love)

so in love (so in love)
are you and i (you and I)
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so much in love)

so in love (so in love)
are you and i (you and I)
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so much in love)

so in love (so in love)
are you and i (you and I)
so in love (so in love)
so much in love (so much in love)

Join in the fun, leave a comment with your Song Sharing Sunday post's URL and don't forget to grab the meme's badge above using the codes provided and I'll hop over to 'listen'...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tian Lai Seafood Restaurant in Johor Bahru

Started off with a birthday eve dinner at Cafe Cartel Singapore IMM branch, followed by a pleasant drive to Johor Bahru on the Actual Day and slurping up a Giantic Milk Tea at Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅.

As promised previously, this is the final birthday post. Here's how I ended my birthday celebration 2011.
We went to the much talked about Seafood Restaurant in Johor Bahru ~ Tian Lai Seafood Restaurant.

It is an easy place to find when you get your map reading skills right! *huge laugh*. Well, seriously, its by the roadside and when you can see a row of Singapore Cars parked at the roadside along Jalan Ulu Choh, Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru, you know you are at the right place! *wink*

They have three different kinds of seatings. The non-sheltered, the sheltered and the sheltered with air-conditioned. We were there early, so we were lucky to have a table empty for us in the sheltered with air-conditioned section of the restaurant.

Here's what they have to offer: 

Sorry, I was too hungry, so my hands shook badly. Result: Blur Image

No More Wild Boar with Ginger & Onion
 While we waited, the coconuts quenched our thirst and satisfied our urge to munch. *wink*

Here comes the glorious food. 
Which is my favourite? 

Sweet & Sour Pork

Sambal Mussels

Sea Bass Teochew Style

Pepper Crab

Salted Egg Crab

Other than the fresh yummy food, Tian Lai Seafood Restaurant is also famous for their BIG PACKET OF KEROPOK (prawn crackers)!

They had a storeroom filled with all these Gigantic Packets of Keropok!

And they sell like hotcakes!!!
Almost every table of diners would leave with a packet or two, some even three!

But I must say that though, they were packed in smaller packets inside this big packet, the keropoks still 'lose air' very fast. So that was a little disappointing. After two days, it lost its crunch.

Alright, so what's the damage?

When we went there on 24th September 2011, the rate was 2.42, so it costs ONLY S$99.38!!!
We were over the moon!
Because we were completely satisfied with the airconditioned seating, the amiable service, the freshness of the seafood and the pricing!
*Super Muack*

Thank you Dearie, Sis and my two Boys for making my Birthday Celebration such a memorable one!
*Humongous Hugs*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Isn't She Lovely?

Isn't She Lovely?
Round and Brown
Soft on the outside and Hard on the inside
Milky exterior and Crunchy interior

Isn't She Lovely?
Away from home and she still remembers me
Separated by land and sea but I was not far from her thoughts
Thank you dear friend
Our friendship of 23 years is something I treasure much
It was a big surprise today when you told me you have this gift for me to munch
Chocolates never fail to bring a smile to my face.

Thank you dear.
*Super Hugs*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Song Sharing Sunday - 144 [ColdPlay - Lost]

Am lost as to what causes this pain in my upper abdomen
Am lost because even after staying in the hospital for a total of 13 days in two occasions, the doctors and specialists still found nothing.
Am lost because without knowing what causes this pain near my gastric and liver area, I can't prevent it.

So lost am I
Yet, I refused to pay another $3000+ just to go through all those tests and scans and still come out of the hospital bed with a report that says 'cause unknown'.

I am hanging on...
but no idea if my stamina can hold...
I am fighting...
but have no clue for how long...


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Lost ~ Coldplay

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Song Sharing Sunday - 143 [A-Lin 給我一個理由忘記]

A song which brought my dear friend to tears.....
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A-Lin 給我一個理由忘記

Join in the fun, leave a comment with your Song Sharing Sunday post's URL and don't forget to grab the meme's badge above using the codes provided and I'll hop over to 'listen'...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Evening Gown For Wedding Dinner

Evening Gown for Wedding Dinner
Oh yes!
Finally the search is over!

Never thought it would be THIS tough, just to get a nice dress, a presentable evening gown for my sister's wedding.
Now that my parents are no longer with us. We are each other's only kin. It Almost feels like my daughter is getting married. *laugh*

First I went through Daniel Yam's collection and those which caught my eyes were way off my budget. Well, you can say I am stingy. Yet, to spend nearly $200 for a dress which I am pretty sure I would only wear ONCE, is definitely off my scale of sensible shopping habits.

Then I went to Far East Plaza and combed every single shop. Found a purple shimmering evening gown that was SIMPLY PERFECT!
Perfect fitting other than the length is too long. Oh no, let me correct myself, because I was too short, so alteration is required and the seamstress cum boss of the shop insists that I pay extra $50 for the alteration of the length, on top of the so-called discounted price of $180.

Evening Gown for Wedding Dinner

Of 'cos, I walked out of the shop without hesitation.

Throughout the whole time, I have been going online to search for my 'Perfect Evening Gown', but no where near...

If you are thinking that my expectations are too high, why don't you judge for yourself?
I want an evening gown that is:-
  1. Not too loud, NO crystals, NO sequins, NO lace, NO embroidery of any sort. Just fabric, fabric and fabric alone.
  2. I need it to be long because I would be 'running around' entertaining guests and doing all sorts of errands, so the last thing I want to worry about is whether I have bent too low in risk of revealing my undies. I just want to be comfortable running around with it.
  3. Does not cost more than $150
Yup! That's it!
Its that too much to ask for?
Well, I thought it was not, but I was wrong, it seemed that its TOO SIMPLE to be found. *faint*

Then I went Dress Sense. A place where you can rent, buy or rent first and buy later if you like the dress so much, that you want to keep it. To my shock! EVERY single piece of long dress has glitters sewn on them! No way will I wear them! Too loud!
Evening Gown for Wedding Dinner
Just when I have given up hope as I walked out of Dress Sense, I turned my head slightly and saw OCCASION!
A smaller shop with a totally contrasting soft coloured shop layout as compared to the dark coloured Dress Sense shop outlook.

Loved the service,
love the dress selections,
love the price because they ONLY had discounts for Mastercard holders and I have nothing except ONE Mastercard! *laugh*
And as if my lucky day was not lucky enough, I found a matching pair of shoes, which was the LAST PAIR available and it was MY SIZE!!!
The heels were just high enough to lift the dress off the floor slightly so that I would not tripped over when I walk. Hooray!
To make my day even better, the price of the shoe was slashed from $98 to $38!!!

So in a single shop, I settled my Evening Gown and my matching Shoes as well!!! *Super clap clap clap*
or should I say Jump for Joy! Jump for Joy!

Alright, after blubbering so much, here's THE Evening Gown I bought for my sister's wedding:


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sale of Balance Flats Exercise September 2011

Will we be the lucky ones?

I have been waiting for the day to move out of this house of mixed memories for years..... memories that can easily tip me off balance and land me in anger land or memories which would leave me in tears....
A place which I have stayed for more than 32 years...
No matter how much it holds, I want to be out of here...
For so many years, we could not move out because of financial situation, now that we could squeeze out a little, we went ahead with the application for the September 2011 Sale of Balance Flats Exercise.

The purpose is not to change to a bigger flat, but really, simply, purely to leave these four walls for good...

Will we be the lucky ones?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅

As promised in my earlier post "My Birthday Celebration 2011", I will do an individual blog post on my first experience in Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅, City Square Johor Bahru, Malaysia branch.

There is one in Singapore too, but review was not favourable. But the whole world changed when we landed in Malaysia. The Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅 restaurant at City Square Johor Bahru was packed every minute!

There are always people waiting to be seated. There are always a big group of youngsters waiting for their turn to get the Free gigantic milk tea, which is given to the table with a birthday girl or boy, man or woman as well. *giggle*


So long as you show your Identity Card as a prove of your birthday, a Humongous milk tea is given free of charge to your table accompanied with a birthday song. *Super Thumbs Up*

If you are wondering if we finished that  Humongous cup of milk tea, even though the five of us were super thirsty, we could not!!! *faint*

The food was gloriously delicious and the quantity is generous! These were what we had that day:

Noodle Soup with Prawn RM10.90

Tuna Sandwich RM4.80
My younger son and I were supposed to share the slightly spicy Noodle Soup with Prawn and the Tuna Sandwich. But after having a few huge mouthful of the noodle, the spiciness got the better of him and he ended up eating more of the Tuna Sandwich. We did not know that the pepper in the Noodle Soup was that overwhelming, but my 6 year old agreed that it tastes superb and I agreed with both hands raised.

Ham Roll with Thousand Island Sauce RM10.80

We ordered the Ham Roll because it looked too tempting to be ignored on the menu and everyone got a piece of it.

Crispy Toast with Cheese and Ham RM6.90
Milo RM3.00

Cheese Baked Rice with Beef RM13.70
Crispy Toast with Cheese was supposed to be for my elder son, whose tummy was not at tip top condition that day.

So we ordered a cup of Milo for him too, to match his Toast. In the end, he goobled up a big part of his father's Cheese Baked Rice with Beef (see left).

My 7 year old felt that his dad's choice was so much more appetising! *laugh*

This was the first time he had such a big cup of Milo. Everything in Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅 restaurant seemed to be big, Big, BIG!*laugh*

Prawn Roe Sauce Baked Rice with Fish Fillet RM13.80
Come to think of it, all of us had a taste of all the food on our table. We were nibbling from here and there and everywhere. It was a your-food-is-mine-and-mine-is-yours kind of affair. *laugh*

For my next visit I would definitely go for their baked rice since both baked rice were superlicious!!!

After conversion it merely cost S$29 for my family of 5! Restaurant quality food and service, yet food court price! *Super Thumbs Up* Love it to the Core!

Have you been to Wong Kok Char Chan Teng 旺角茶餐厅 before?