Archive for the ‘Trips & Outings’ Category

Wish I was in Singapore with sis

My younger sister went to Singapore for a school trip. I went to many school trips before but never as far as Singapore. I asked Mum if I could follow. She said “You wouldn’t want to be with a busload of giggly girls”. Most times I don’t know what I want so I take the cue from Mum. That’s the way I learn. But this time I don’t get it. What’s wrong about being on the bus with a bunch of girls? They are heading for Singapore right? That’s where you find the Zoo, Night Safari and Universal Studios. That’s all I care about.

Sis (leftmost) at the Merlion with friends

Sis said they were not going to those places. Instead they were going to places like Arab Street, Clarke’s Quay, Little India etc . .  and the National Library. Huh? The library? Why would anyone want to visit the library instead of a theme park? Mum reminds me that it’s a school trip not a holiday tour so the girls will visit 2 local schools to reciprocate the visits these schools made to sister’s school. The girls are even performing a local dance, the zapin, in conjunction with the trip. OK so now I don’t feel so bad about being left behind. Still, it would be nice to go. I haven’t been there since I was 10 years old. Mum doesn’t have good memories of that trip. She said I behaved badly. I got into tantrums each time we got ready to leave any of the attractions especially the Zoo. Sigh… Mum sure has a long memory. I said to her “Sorry”. Is 13 years too late to apologize?

Anyway, sister’s back later today. Can’t wait to see what souvenir she’ll bring back for me.

P.S She’s back. Sis got me a FINE tee-shirt. Fine for littering, fine for spitting, fine for chewing gum!. Get it?. I like it. I wore it immediately.

My FINE tee-shirt souvenir

Dad keeps his promise.

Dad took me to the zoo. He kept his promise. I told him “I feel better”. He laughed  and apologized at the same time. The night before I looked for my zebra print tee-shirt and carefully hung it beside my bed. In the morning I watched the clock. At 9 a.m sharp I tell Dad to stop work or we’ll be late. Mum and cousin Kak Lin also came along. From the moment we parked we could hear the siamang (gibbon) making their unique, loud territorial sounds. I joined in. Mum went to buy tickets and realized that she if she had brought along my OKU (orang kurang upaya) card I could have entered for free. She doesn’t ever carry that card with her because she doesn’t like a reminder of what my ‘label’ is. Kak Lin took charge of the camera and diligently photographed any animal that I got excited about… which was pretty much all of them. I was like a kid in a candy store.

It’s odd that normal folks don’t know the most basic thing about animals. I mean our conversation would be something like this;

Kak Lin: ” look a llama”. Me: “NO, its a guanaco”. Kak Lin:”huh? what’s a guanaco?”  Me: Sigh . . .

Mum: “there’s a wallaby”. Me: “NO, its a pademelon”. Mum: “a whaat?” Me: “Pade…melon, a kind of wallaby”

Then they (except Dad) would go to the info board to check if I was right. Dad says why bother, I’m always right about animals. After awhile they stopped naming the animals and just asked me to identify them (while they took quick sneaks at the info board). Oh by the way, I can also mimic the animal sounds. How good am I? Good enough to make Kak Lin’s mouth gape open in amazement. Mum makes me watch the camels. She stresses ‘See how the camel chews its food?’ I replied ‘Yes but the real name is dromedary. It has only one hump”. Mum glares. I’m missing the point. Viewing the tiger, puma, lion and leopard was exciting alright but I spent the most amount of time watching the deers. Mum doesn’t understand what it is about them that appeals to me so much.

Check out the photo below of me ‘petting’ a giraffe. We had burgers for lunch at The Wild Restaurant and made a stop at the souvenir shop before we left. Kak Lin asked me to chose something. I chose a Zoo Negara mug with pictures of apes. Thanks! As we got into the car I realized that we had missed the Aquarium and told Dad “Please come again”. He said “We’ll see”. I don’t know what that means so I ask a bit too anxiously . . . .When? . . . . .When? (again). Mum makes a disgruntled sound. I stop. I know what THAT sound means. It means to stop pestering before I ruin a perfectly good day. I do this a lot apparently without realizing it.

However, as I get older I learn to check myself before I cross that threshold of no return – the point where I exhaust my mother’s patience and she issues me a final warning to STOP or I will not (do/go/have) whatever-it-is again for a long time. One thing I can tell you about Mum. She does what she says and she says what she does. It’s this no-nonsense firmness that has taught me discipline. In the early days I threw tantrums and rolled on the floor if I did not get my way. She would physically drag me away while people watched, shaking their heads amidst whispers of what a bad mother she is. Some say she’s too harsh. Mum calls it hard love. It’s the strongest kind of love there is.

*P.S Mum says she doesn’t want to be the mother that’s always searching for the child who’s constantly wandering off or having to coax a child to go to sleep every single night. I stick by Mum’s side (except that time I got lost at Animal Kingdom, Orlando) and I have slept on my own since I was three years old, at a regular time. How did she manage this? Ok this surely requires a new post.

Imagine petting a giraffe. A reticulated giraffe to be exact.

Having a good time at the Savannah

Haziq’s back from OBS

Haziq’s home later this evening. He’s probably going to be very tired and hungry. I made him one of his favorite food, spicy mince meat and bell peppers wrapped in tortillas topped with cheese. Not typically local at all but Haziq has a preference for Tex-Mex food. For many years of his childhood he had kept to a rigid diet and had been good-tempered and disciplined about it so now I indulge him. In today’s blog I thought of relating Haziq’s experience with epilepsy. His first attack was when he was already 17. Since he developed epilepsy at this late stage he has little chance of outgrowing it. He will probably be on meds for the rest of his life. His last two seizures was while on holiday. Perhaps the stress of being in unfamiliar territory. Once was while walking along Railey beach in Krabi, Thailand. We were walking behind his brother and sister towards the steep limestone cliffs all geared up in their safety harness ready for rock-climbing. He looked up at the cliffs and said “It’s so high”. His voice trembled a little but I didn’t take notice. Next thing Haziq was rolling head over heels in a peculiar slow motion way down the sloping beach. I ran to him and soon had the locals rushing to my side. True to the generous nature of the Thais, they organized a way to get him back to the hotel. You see, this side of Krabi was a little, unspoiled community without any vehicles or roads. They had to get a tractor to transport him – the very same tractor that ploughs into the sea to meet boats halfway and transfer people and baggage to shore. He got to the hotel safely but disoriented and nauseous. He threw up twice and then sank into a deep sleep. Aside from a few bruises he was okay by nightfall. What a way to start a holiday.

The next holiday in Bandung, Indonesia he was, thankfully seated on a bench waiting for our breakfast orders of fresh yoghurt and toast at what was once a cow farm converted to a restaurant. With a short cry of pain he collapsed but we managed to catch him before he hit the ground. The seizure was much more severe though.

His doctor had no choice but to increase the dosage. Sadly the extra dosage of drugs will have an effect on his concentration level and the process of learning will be even more difficult than it already is. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, it does. Life with an autistic child has its share of joys and pain. Life with an epileptic, autistic young adult is going to require huge doses of Faith.

God give me Strength.

Hi-ho hi-ho its Outward Bound School (OBS) we go

This morning I leave for Lumut, near Pangkor to participate in the Outward Bound School or OBS program.

Did you know it was the first center established outside the United Kingdom, in 1955?. I think this is my 4th trip. Or is it my 5th? I perform better each time cause I know what to expect. Its tough but nowhere as tough as the climb up Mount Kinabalu, Sabah. Yup that’s right, the highest mountain in South-east Asia. We special kids did that climb. Believe it. I’ll tell you all about it next time. Last night Mum checked every single thing I packed. I did well. The most important thing was my meds. I have to take 5 tablets a day. It keeps in check epilepsy attacks especially when I am away from home. Anxiety from unfamiliar surroundings seems to bring it on. Huh tell me about it. I had seizures during two holidays. Once on a beach in Krabi, Thailand and another on a cow farm in Bandung, Indonesia. That itself requires a post of its own. I just forgot a sarong for prayer time, a few toiletries and shorts for shower time. Yeay good job. The first time I was in OBS I created an uproar bathing in the nude. Go figure. Went out to get me flip-flops. I chose one with vertical blue stripes. Mum said I have good taste. Used to be a time when Mum had to chose every single thing for me cos I just wasn’t aware of color or shape. Now I can even ‘feel’ quality. Sensory-wise that’s a huge step.

We got to my old school nice and early. Mum reads me the itinerary. Sounds good, especially the BBQ at the end of the program. Hahaha. The teacher- in-charge tells parents not to worry if the weather gets bad on the night that we are supposed to row over to a little island and camp there. If that happens they will abandon the plan. Mum gives me pocket-money and she leaves me on the bus with the others. She knows I’ll be alright. After all I am the oldest in the group. Hope to be able to put up some photos of my activities there in the next blog. Be back on Friday evening, July 30th. Till then have a look at the photos below. That’s some of the outdoorsy stuff I will be doing. Looks like fun right? Bye now.





Our Kayak trip