Yah, I know this post is like, more than 3 months late. In truth, it took me about 10 weeks to recover from the wedding and reclaim my life back. Finally, people have stopped asking me what it’s like to be married. Truth be told, it feels different everyday. Some days, I think, why am I married to this thing? Other days, it’s amazing.
Rantings of a hen June 19, 2009
So I told my colleagues today in no uncertain terms that I do not want a hen’s night. They had been talking about it for weeks. First, one girl in my department decided I should have one, then another girl in my department got excited about it, then they got two people outside my department to plan it. The thing is, I am not inviting people outside of my department to my wedding. And, to top it all, I found out today that the people they had asked to organise the hen party could not even make it to the party themselves. So, basically, there is a party because of my impending nuptials where I have to play a part I do not want to play, i.e. a hen, organised by people not invited to my wedding, who cannot attend the party. I mean, how awkward and strange is that?
Besides, I do not see the point of a hen party. I can accept going out for drinks, possibly getting drunk. I do not understand why I should be forced to lap dance for strangers and sell my kisses for the amusement of people who have supposedly thrown a party for my benefit. Like, huh?
Children. To have and not to have. May 8, 2009
I have been on medical leave for the past five days because I removed my wisdom teeth on Monday. Going under GA was as fun as expected, though the night before that I had the usual GA nightmare: you know the one where you are apparently unconscious but actually you are hearing, feeling, seeing everything, and you try to stop the scalpel but you can’t move, because, as before mentioned, you are out cold to the rest of the world. So there you are, silently screaming, hopelessly struggling, all in futility.
I stepped out into civilisation today. Went for a hair spa treatment. I figured that was allowed coz one really doesn’t do much at the spa, except, sit. I decided to forego the usual movie which helps time pass. So I was plied with three Australian magazines, along the lines of Women’s Day. And after reading them, it occurred to me that children are the most popular accessories of today’s stars, the must-have item in every get-up, don’t leave home without them! Not only do they look good (with some hapless exceptions), they also come in handy. I mean, look at Brangelina and their brood. Apparently Ange’s new pregnancy has saved the famous pair from an imminent split and rekindled their sex life, given that Brad has a fetish for the pregnant form. And Mel Gibson’s long-suffering wife is finally throwing in the towel and of course the mags have to mention their seven children – collateral damage, and not to mention joint property in any divorce, and in this particular case, to bring home Mel’s strong Catholic faith – no contraception, hence the seven kids – which then highlights the irony of his adulterous affairs and current divorce. And then of course there is Katie Holmes. Does anyone even remember her before-Suri? And now there is Nicole Kidman and Sunday Rose, who, does anyone even realise, is unfortunate to resemble her father so? Then there is the other Nicole, who is pregnant yet again, and who, before giving birth to her first child with Good Charlotte’s whazisface, was best known for being Paris Hilton’s anorexic best friend. And guess what? Paris Hilton is not in the news. Obviously. She has no child, and neither is she pregnant. That makes her yesterday’s news. To have a future, or even a present, it seems, one must have a child. Other people in the news: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin throwing a party for their son, Kate Hudson rushing to some party with the man of her life – her son. And there was David Beckham romping with his three sons, and the Travoltas who are mourning the death of a son.
It seemed the only childless celebrity who was newsworthy was Jennifer Aniston. Poor, sad, childless Aniston was in the news because of yet another failed relationship. She was noted for being extra flirtatious with all the men on the set of her latest film, and planning for a vacation to Europe to find a rich businessman to be the new love in her life, as she has apparently grown tired of actors, singers and models.
I wonder why celebrities can’t seem to get enough of parenthood. I wonder why is it that thousands of women want to emulate these celebrities in every way, but draw the line when it comes to motherhood. According to these celebrities, motherhood is the best thing that has happened to them, not the Birkin bag, or the Manolos, or their multi-million mansions, or their fleet of cars and private jets, nor botox or silicon implants. Why do we not, like Angelina Jolie, aspire to have seven children and more? Personally, I get tired just imagining myself being followed around by seven little chicks everywhere I go.
Are we taking many steps backwards when 50-somethings like Sharon Stone and Madonna seem to be driven by this biological, maternal instinct and adopting kids whom they may never watch grow up? Successful, rich men don’t do that. Some keep pigs as pets, but they don’t go out and adopt child after child after child, as if of insatiable appetite, trying to quench an unquenchable thirst. Is there something lacking in a successful woman which can only be filled by a child?
And finally, are they being noble doing their bit for society by adopting? Or are they just collecting children since they can have everything, why not another human being?
An update, and response to an email April 10, 2009
The kebaya fitting was… ok. Neither the material nor the price was what we had agreed on. And the initial design didn’t work out, so there are going to be some serious changes. Sigh. The designer has her own ideas – she wanted something modern and conservative, and we wanted something traditional and sexy. I mean, the kebaya is ultimately this very translucent, body hugging, intricate piece of clothing. It didn’t quite turn out that way. The material was cotton instead of voile, so it was completely opaque. The reason given was that the design was too intricate to use the voile material which is too delicate and may tear. The inner camisole was cut too high coz she wanted it to be seen above the kebaya, but the overall look is just heavy, given that the material is already heavy. Oh, and there was this stain which I’m not sure if she can even get rid of.. But I like the way the sarong was sewn, and the design of the embroidery on the kebaya. Anyway, I’ll go for final fitting in May, and see how.
We finally signed with our contractor. The ID managed to find one who was willing to do it for our budget of exactly 55k. My dad called me up and did a lot of sighing about the budget, which I had told my stepmum was 50k because she asked. The fiancé thinks that I have the problem of being brutally honest, and I think that he has the problem of lying without a second thought. Anyway, this has only strengthened our resolve not to take a single cent from my dad for the reno, or the wedding, for that matter. I mean, initially he said he was going to give me a sum since I was going to get married. And then, he started stating his expectations of how the money should be allocated, then he started questioning what I was using it for, and exactly how much was going where. I feel, people shouldn’t ask where their gifts go. I mean, if I give you a diamond ring, and you decide to pawn it and spend the money buying macarons, that’s your business. And more importantly, don’t ask questions to which you can’t handle the answers. It is difficult to be beholden to people, coz then you have to be accountable.
And the thing about this wedding and reno thing is that there is all this waiting! Things get exciting for a day where we rush around seeing the ID, signing with the contractor, going to the wedding venue with the florist, and then now we are waiting for the contractor to come up with drawings, and the contact person at the wedding venue to revert on things. And the worst thing that has come out of this whole experience has been the wedding venue!
Before we started on everything, I prayed that God would send us the right people, because I really did not, and do not, want to deal with the pain of dealing with incompetent, ‘just-don’t-get-it’ kind of vendors, and He has straightened the path for us at every turn. With the ID, when we signed, it seemed that the boss, who is the brand name and driving creative force in his company, was mainly going to supervise, but in the end it turned out that he was very involved with the design, right down to the very minute details. And it was the same thing with the florist. The boss is basically semi-retired and she actually wanted my wedding to be a kind of training for one of her girls, but as it is, on the day that we were supposed to meet the vendor, the girl fell ill, so only the lady boss was there, and now she’s going to run the whole show personally. And it was a good thing she was there coz with all the experience that she has, she knew just what questions to ask the contact person at Villa Seafood Galleria. And unfortunately, that person had NO answers! Argh. I will have faith. In God, not the person at the restaurant.
off schedule March 24, 2009
our interior designers are way behind schedule. way behind. and after looking at the design today, i think they are way above budget. way above. time to pray. really pray.
i need my medication but am stuck at hot’s office, waiting for him to finish work. finish work. woozy..
I have a confession to make. I just doctored my baptism certificate. I am on medication for having a fever the past three days. Not that that is doing anything for my guilt.
I did it with a stroke of the pen. Literally. I added a stroke on top of an “e”. I think that from the moment the name “Renée” came to me as the name that would define me, and the name that I would take, I also knew that I was taking on a losing battle. That the accent on that “e” will always plague me, or the lack thereof, in any place where French is not common, i.e. here in my homeland.
On the day I received my baptism certificate, I was very happy, but a huge part of me knew that the accent aigu will be missing. (Yes, there actually are different names given to the different strokes, and they can change the meaning of the word, and that’s why they are there! They are not there to prettify a word or make it “French”.) So, lo and behold, no surprise there, when the space above the “e” was, well, space. It disturbed me, and I wondered if I should march back in to the church admin counter and explain to the nice people there that there is a missing stroke, very small, almost a speck in some fonts, then I decided not. Why? Read on.
A couple of weeks ago, I was near Chinatown with the ex (that, is another story altogether) and we walked past this hair salon called “Nice de Paris”. The ex, in a way that only he could, ridiculed and laughed at the name. Myself, I think I have become so inured to the abuse and misuse of the French language by beauty salons, cafés and boutiques in this country, that I barely even raised an eyebrow. And as we walked along Neil Road and the environs, there were pubs and other establishments which had happily adopted “French” names, which mean nothing at all in French, or any other language. And the only reason I can find, the only attribute that I can give to the owners of these establishments is “pretentiousness”, which, incidentally, has its origin in the French word “prétentieux”. To be “pretentious” means, according to Oxford, “to attempt to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed”.
When I chose the name “Renée”, it actually was the simplest of names. In fact, it cannot be simpler. It’s so literal. In French the prefix “re” means the same thing as in English, the sense of “again”, and né means “born”. René means “born again”, or even “reborn” if translated directly. And that’s what the baptism is supposed to be, and that’s what I was supposed to be: born again. “Ne” without the accent in the French language forms part of a negative construct – “ne… pas”, “ne… jamais”, “ne… plus”, “ne… rien” – “not”, “never”, “not anymore”, “nothing”. Now, why would I name myself after part of a negative construct? The accent was meant to be there, right from the start.
I understand the difficulty of adding the accent. It requires a few extra steps in Microsoft Word. That is provided one even knows that there is such a thing as “Insert symbol”. On all the forms that I have filled in for church, I have always included the accent. In fact, on my church membership card, the accent is there, because I specifically emailed the person-in-charge to include it. But I did not want to trouble the Diocese of Singapore, and I did not want to be one of those pretentious people who decide to adopt a French name without knowing what it means, or how to spell it. So now, ironically, I have a misspelled French name that doesn’t mean anything. I have become like one of those pubs along Neil Road.
So, why did I doctor the certificate today of all days? That’s the crux of the matter. I want to change the name on my IC. Or rather, add my baptism name. Now, since the church admin has failed me in their word processing, I am hoping that the Singapore government will get it right. But, I need to show proof in the form of my baptism certificate.
Of course, it has occurred to me that even if the accent appears on my IC, it is possible that it will disappear somewhere in the bureaucracy which is present in any government. Then again, let’s see if it even appears on my new IC at all, or if I will receive a phone call from a doubtful officer at the ICA.
The battle wages on, and in the meantime, I do feel bad.
Adieu March 18, 2009
The past few days have been draining and I actually feel it physically. I reached the end of the rope where the ex is concerned. I finally acquiesced and met him last Friday for tea. I did what he does – I slotted him between my appointments. We didn’t talk about anything serious and as far as I was concerned, I only met him at his insistence and I had nothing to say to him. Still, we made polite conversation. And as we parted, he asked if we were still going to meet for lunch on Monday, which was the original plan before I rescheduled him. I said no. He bored me. I’ve killed friendships for lesser reasons. No, I did not tell him the reason, just no. And I thought all will be fine – I had done my duty, met him like he had asked, and that was it. Then on the same night, actually it was more like the wee hours of the next morning, he smses me that he really wants to see me again one evening when I didn’t have other appointments that I had to rush off to. So my plan had not worked. I ignored that SMS.