Petomising the Wii

This is Petom. She plays tennis, knock out her own husband in bowling games and shouts, “Ok! I am done!” when she is tired of playing. She is also a spa addict, recently reignited her love for Formula One and in real life, is a producer.

I really am puzzled why the Wii has not hit Singapore shores yet. I saw petitions being signed by avid gamers in Singapore asking the Nintendo distributors to get their act together but the last I checked, the Wii is still a North American escapade. The Wii has impressed almost everyone who had a chance to play it. I was of course, the sceptic , being the non-gamer that I am. So when DH told me that he bought a Wii the week of its release (yes, he pre-ordered. They do these things, these supergeeks) I was err…unimpressed? He went on and on what the Wii is about, yada yada yada…and all I remember thinking was about what I was going to order for breakfast at IHOP.

And then one fine weekend I decided to give it a go. I was shocked when he said we have to remove the coffee table in front of the TV to create more space. What?! I thought this was a normal console game, ala PS3 (btw, thats another story – my SIL queued 10 hours to get that game) or XBox, so why do we have to create space in front of the TV? Aren’t console games the type where you can play sitting down comfortably on the sofa, eat chips and then kill someone in between?

Anyway, I soon learnt that noooo…the Wii is something else. It is a Virtual Reality game. Each player holds a remote, and it moves along with your own hand movement. So basically, if I am playing tennis on the Wii, I have to stand up, hold the remote as if I am holding a racket and swing my hands as per real life. So now you know why we need the space in front of the TV.

I tell you, the last time I held a tennis racket was maybe 8 years back. I am not a good player and I scream a lot on the court, mostly out of boredom because I couldn’t hit the damn green ball. So when I played tennis on the Wii, oh my…it was awesome! Now me and DH are not exactly petite, so we shoved each other quite a bit when we swing our Wii rackets.

I refuse to name my Wii identity after my own. I decided that it is time that the Petoms and the Joyahs get tech-recognition and so even before the coveted Wii hit Asian shores, the Petoms of the world can now say she had played it first.

How’s that for naikkan status Melayu?

Woo. Petom lives!

PS: This is DH btw. I am sure he wants to call it a Spartan but then again, Greek warriors don’t wear specs no?

Gender Divide

Its funny how different both of us approach cooking.
I am constantly reminded why men and women are different whenever we hit the kitchen together. DH treats it like he is entering a chemistry lab, I go into the kitchen for temporary artistic gratification.

This past weekend, we were vegging out on a balmy Saturday morning watching Food Network when we both decided to make it cooking weekend right after, resulting in both of springing up from the otherwise comfy sofa, ran out of the door, zoomed the car out of the driveway and hit the supermarket (ok, not that dramatic – but close). We just HAD to try making chocolate souffle IMMEDIATELY – after merely seeing a souffle on TV for 4 seconds (yes, we are visual people).

I was tasked to run back and forth to my Macbook to check the recipe and read it out to DH.
DH will only move his hands with exact instructions. He won’t go with “Whisk until naik“. What is ‘until naik’“, he’d ask and I would painfully explain until it hardens at the top at least.
“Define harden!” he’d quip, with his hands still on the handheld whisker and looking very unimpressed with my reading the recipe. And I’d reply nonchalantly -“Until you can see it!”. And so the drama ensues…

Its hilarious. We can never make a cooking team on Iron Chef. We will raise our voices, debate, poke each other with the laddle to prove a point and many other very rude gestures in a typical Malay husband-wife dynamics. I remember when he decided to make some instant lemang from Adabi – he had a post-it with exact remarks like – “Flip after 45 minutes, put more water after 10 minutes…” and carry the post-it around the house so he won’t forget !!
He also takes his time when whisking, mixing until he reads the NEXT instruction. I can’t do that, if I am in the kitchen with him as his sous chef, I’d be flipping with anxiety knowing some things will harden anyway because of his slow speed. Or so I thought.

But our cooking weekend is always a blast. We love our differing personalities and always laugh at each other’s antics. I, being the woman that I am – always INSIST I know better because I am female. And he will be armed with a list of retorts on why men make better chefs. I should seriously tape one of these cooking sessions and make a TV series out of it.

We made Chocolate Souffle on Saturday and Quilt Pie (pictured above) on Sunday morning together. He also Baked Chicken with Tangerine Salad for dinner on Saturday. I suppose his ‘chemistry lab’ is brewing with good food anyways, and I should not complain.

Old Love

An old love came creeping up on me recently. It was not easy resisting him, and his timing cannot be worst. He just HAD to choose to reappear, of all days on the day I turned 35.

I have always been very wary of that number – 35. To me, it carries as much weight as the number 40 does to men. It is where everything starts, and although I do agree life changes for women when they turn 30 (and it did for me!) but 35…woooo..such a huge number. Mine came with big responsibilities, bigger dreams, calmer self and a bigger me too. Then again who is talking about weight here. I don’t know about you – I am definitely NOT.

Anyway, this old love used to be one of my biggest dreams that I held onto through most of my primary school life. Since I was 5, the day arwah Abah bought me that little wooden piano the size of an A4 paper, I knew I had fallen in love. Music, was not just a tinker-tanker here and there for me. I didn’t come from a rich family, so piano lessons and the like were not to be realised. That little piano – black, dog-eared and very well-used was all I had. I played funny tunes with it, and I didn’t care. I didn’t play for anyone. I played for me.

When I did go to primary school, I must have been 7 then – I joined the school’s orchestra. My first music teacher – Mr Bernard Low, taught us how to play the major chords and I was ecstatic. That was the ONLY piano lesson I had, albeit a free one, and with that 3 chords – all of C major, G major and F, I belted out funny songs with funny tunes on my funny little wooden piano back home. Many times I asked Abah to send me to Yamaha music school, he always promised yes but somehow life drove us along. I had a feeling Abah’s ‘yes’ was a delay tactic, I don’t think he could have afford it.

Abah died when I was 10. Mak took pains bringing all of us 3 girls up – she went back to madrasah teaching and sell kuihs in the morning to make ends meet. I was the happy-go-lucky girl that I am, very well loved by everyone and never once feeling deprived. I love my childhood. Every single minute of it. Yamaha school went drifting away and I soon forgot.

In secondary school, it didn’t help that I was in a top girls school in Singapore where many of the students came from middle class families who ALREADY had piano lessons in their resume. They came from priviledged families and it showed. I didn’t feel envious, just longing for that real piano or keyboard that I can call my own eventually. The school hall had a real piano and I used to love to to sit there with friends who knew how to play, and let them teach me a chord or two. I love those days. I felt so blessed then that I was able to play what little I could.

The journey continues in junior college. On days when I skip lessons, I will be hiding behind the curtain in the school hall – not because it is a place where teachers will never find you, but because there is a piano there! I will play funny tunes – by this time my repertoire had expanded to about 6 songs or so. Not bad eh?

Then fast forward and many years of journalism, heartbreak, youth, travel and bohemian jumps later – my love for playing my own instrument got buried deep in the trenches. I did have a band as an adult, but I was the singer – and I left the musical prowess bit to the people who were rightfully trained for it, and have musical instruments to prove it.

Then one day I visited a friend’s home, and saw a most beautiful thing with her singing seamlessly with it. As I watched her play, I felt a tug of emotions waking up within. I tried to control it but could not hold my excitement with DH.

DH bought me the Yamaha PSR-1500 to mark my 35th. I didn’t think it is a necessary purchase but his words were simple. I have been holding off my dreams for too long.

It has been a long way since that little wooden piano days. I thank Allah for his grace, and using Nazrah to show me that the dream is still within, and DH to bring me to it.

And now I shall go practise.