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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sweetest Face

Happy belated New Year or a happy upcoming Chinese New Year! This is the year of the rat according to the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese zodiac revolves around twelve animals with each animal representing a year. The rat is actually the beginning of the zodiac’s twelve-year cycle. My little boy was born in the year of the sheep which means in 8 years or year 2016, he will turn 12.

Our family spent the last month of 2007 together in a tropical paradise called Sandakan, Malaysia. The temperature hovers around 85 to 90 degrees and it occasionally cools down when the north wind passes. This is a place where you can rest your mind and put it on vegetative mode. You literally don’t need to think when you are resting at this place. I actually feel dumber after spending sometime here.

If resting is the thing to do here then surely we took full advantage of this place. In another word, we spent time sleeping. We slept in beds, on the sofa, on the couch, in chairs, on benches, in cars and sometimes even on the floor. Some may think what a waste of time it is to spend time sleeping while in tropical paradise. Errr…I have to admit tropical paradise is quite a stretch even though this is my hometown. Yes, there are plenty of coconut trees, but the problem is the coconuts are still on the trees. There aren’t any attractive servants with a monkey climbing up the coconut tree to fetch you coconuts. Yes, it is tropical temperature but the beaches are not for people but rather for the locals to dry their rotten fish. These fish are called “Salted Fish” (Hum Yu) and is a rather tasty gourmet served along with porridge.

We did see sunsets and ate cheap but great food. A dinner for three would cost less than $10.00 US dollar and real meat will be served. We did try to stay away from the salted fish we saw being dried on the beaches since there were other NATURALLY preserved “delicacies” that were being dried among the fishes. These NATURAL delicacies weren’t put there by the ones who dried the fish. They sort of just drifted and eventually settle as part of the fish.

The night scenes were quite dramatic and spectacular. With a cool light breeze behind and the gentle coconut leaves waving at you as a welcome gesture, you could peacefully stroll through the downtown streets with shorts and sandals. As we strolled along, you might see shadowy fleshes running from one spot to another. At first glance, you may think these are just some lost but cute and fury house cats trying to find their way home. A closer look would yield the finding of a lifetime. These are no cats! They are RATS! This tropical paradise is also a haven for these rats. In this paradise, cats do not chase after rats but rather the other way around.

Inspired by the upcoming New James Bond movie set to be released later this year (Quantum of Solace), we did find solace during our stay in paradise. Both of us enjoyed very much watching our little boy sleeps. It was an indescribable peace as if nothing in this world or no matter what else happens could wake or disturb him from his sleep. It is paradise enough for us to simply ….watch him sleep. Sleep like a baby sleep zzzzzzzz.