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i have things to say

Posts by Sheela Goh

shutterstock_184732583Nine years ago, I received news that my Dad had suffered a cardiac arrest and needed a bypass. Or was it a stem implant. I don’t know. The details are fuzzy. My hands were shaking and I was at a complete loss. To fully appreciate the situation, you have to understand that this information was relayed via text and I was living in another country. I was also in a media van, chaperoning a client to the local telly station for an early morning business talkshow interview. Icing on the cake? The text ended with these words, “Just letting you know, don’t worry.”

It was 6.35 in the morning.

In retrospect, I now see that my mum was attempting to downplay the situation so I wouldn’t freak out but the way she broke the news to me? I went into hyperventilate mode instantly. I almost had a heart attack then and there. Pun fully intended. That night, we took the evening flight back home to see my Dad. After thoroughly smothering him with hugs and love, I realised the man was a cardiovascular catastrophe just waiting to happen. He ate unhealthily. He no longer worked out. He’d become so terribly sedentary, it was shameful (I love you, Dad). I mean, this was a man who trained in Silat (Malay Martial Arts) and emulated Bruce Lee right down to, yes, Jeet Kun Do. This was the man who would weigh his meals (typically raw eggs with tuna flakes) and who used to do countless chin-ups just for the fun of it.

Thus began the mission to saving Mr Goh.

I have to give props to my Mum here. She did everything in her capacity to nurse him back to health. From cooking healthy meals and shushing him whenever he protested that they tasted bland to, as the weeks passed, dragging him out of bed in the morning for what would become their daily routine of park walk/jog sessions followed by a nice, light breakfast.

Almost a decade later, my Dad is healthy and happy. He no longer evokes palpitations of fear in me :) he’s come a long way and that’s pretty cool.

So, Dad, have a heart and keep taking care of your heart so we can have you around for as long as possible to love you? So you can witness how your only grandchild is growing into a strong, confident, beautiful person. So you can continue to be there for your son and your daughter who have never ever stopped respecting your thoughts and your opinions. So you can continue to say, “Night, Ling” to your wife every single night, as you have been doing for the past 44 years.

Because, you know, we kinda love you.

 

Love, your princess

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{ illustration courtesy of Matt Golding }

Alright, the opinions you are about to read are mine and mine alone. You might resonate with some, you might not at all. I really don’t care but I care more about writing how I feel. If nothing else, what Emma Watson said at the recent UN Launch of HeForShe has taught me to speak out and aloud. To voice my thoughts.

Earlier this week, the world went gaga over Emma’s speech on gender equality. This came in the wake of her appointment as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Her impassioned words called for men to openly and actively champion the equal rights cause, and help in advocating women’s rights. I came away with a newly-attained awareness of how men too are suffering from gender inequality. Her precise words were, “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.”

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“I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”

Fact is, I’ve never quite thought of it that way.

It is somewhat sombre to note that even as women fight obstacles in their way to achieving what would typically be qualified (by society, no less) as being a man’s thing, by the same token, there are equally as many stereotypes when it comes to what men can say or do or choose as careers. This_is_so_true. And quite likely due to the fact that, for the most part, history records gender movements as being initiated and swayed towards the female of the species. Think the Industrial Revolution and the championing of equal wages for women in the workforce. Think Mrs Banks and her pro-suffrage protest song. A second wave of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood; seminal figures included Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. And there’s National Women’s Equality Day which has been celebrated on 26th August since 1971.

Masculinism (usually uncountable, plural masculinisms)

  1. An ideology of masculinity; especially, an ideology opposed to, or opposed by, feminism.

And despite all that has been achieved to date, why has the spotlight shone significantly lesser on the other spectrum of gender inequality? For the men? The men’s liberation movement developed in the early 1970s among heterosexual, middle-class men in Britain and North America as a response to the cultural changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Jack Sawyer published an article titled “On Male Liberation” in Liberation journal in autumn of 1970, in which he discussed the negative effects of stereotypes of male sex roles. 1971 saw the birth of men’s discussion groups across the United States, as well as the formation by Warren Farrell (recognised as one of the most important figures in the modern men’s movement) of the National Task Force on the Masculine Mystique within the National Organization for Women.

There’s International Men’s Day on 19th November, an occasion inaugurated a scant 15 years ago in 1999. There’s Glenn Sacks, an American men’s and fathers’ issues columnist and media spokesperson. And there’s Robert Bly, activist and leader of the mythopoetic men’s movement. I reiterate the fact that despite all that appears to have been accomplished, masculinism does not appear to have neither garnered as much media/communal support nor progress.

That said, to propose that the breaking down of barriers holding men captive within societal prisons will naturally lead to change for women as a downstream consequence is, well, idealist?

I leave you with this quote which, to me, sums it up picture perfectly.

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Please, share your thoughts with me.

 

Love, Sheela

This is, I’ll tell you right off the bat, a pictorial tribute to Bridgette Bardot.

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“I am greatly misunderstood by politically correct idiots.”

Brigitte_Bardot_dressBrigitte Bardot 1958 guitar

“I absolutely loathe luxury. It is the one thing I cannot stand.”

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“Animals have never betrayed me. They are an easy prey, as I have been throughout my career. So we feel the same. I love them.”

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“I am 30, but there are things about me that are still 15.”

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“They may call me a sinner, but I am at peace with myself.” Amen.

And if you’re into gamine, french dressing, here’s a lovely how to http://thezoereport.com/shopping-guide/brigitte-bardot-fashion/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=thezoereport&utm_campaign=TZR%3A%20Sunday%20Shopper%20Ad%3A%20Coordinates%20Collection.

 

Happy Birthday, Ms Bardot.

In accordance with the powers that be over at The Daily Post, this is another timed writing piece for Writing 101. I’ve fallen so far behind that I can’t remember what day this assignment raised its ugly challenging head but I do believe it was Day 3? Previously, I was given 20 minutes, this time around, it’s 15. So here we go.

shutterstock_201120542I have this awful pain in my right shoulder. My surgeon says my rotator cuff is severely inflamed but not torn. And promptly gave me a steroid shot. Damn that hurt. Now, it hurts even more than pre-jab but he did pre-empt that would happen. I had an injection in my right knee as well. That’s a tad more dramatic because I’m now wearing a stiff brace which extends along almost the entire length of my leg PLUS I’m scheduled to have surgery next Thursday so yeah. I’m wondering how I’ll be able to totter around the first few days (if all goes well) in crutches. How I’ll make it up the stairs if I need something. Although I have the faintest suspicion my man will not permit that. Plus I’m supposed to be fairly comatose from the anesthesia the first 48 to 72 hours.

Having registered for both Blogging 101 as well as Writing 101, I’m feeling really overwhelmed. I have an editorial calendar for my blog which I try very hard to follow but I’m falling behind and that sucks. Despite all that, I am not at all regretting participating in both projects because I am rediscovering my love for writing. I am rediscovering the fact that I can still write. That I can still be inspired to write. And to write fairly decently. Granted it’s tough to tackle several of the assignments especially because I so much prefer non fiction. Fiction scares me a little but I’ll give it a try. I can’t guarantee I’ll post any of my initial attempts but hey, you never know.

I’m down to the last 8 minutes and my brain is frantically trying to think of something else to write. Maybe I can talk about the discovery of the BASH (Bourne-Again SHell) vulnerability which was detected 2 days ago. Did I mention that in the “real” world, I manage the branding for an internet security company? Translated, I take care of all matters pertaining to communications with our clients, the media and the analysts. I’m not much of a techie but after 2.5 years, I’ve learned to enjoy what I do. The world of security, internet security specifically, is such an eye-opener. I doubt I’d be any sort of a professional but at least I have an idea of what’s trending not just in the blogosphere but also in the security universe.

Another 5 minutes to go. How do people do this? I’m thinking my arm is about to fall right off. It hurts. Like hell would hurt if I’d been to hell, and back. Ha. See what I did there?

I tried convincing my surgeon, earlier this morning, that I could remove the brace and get on the treadmill for the next few days leading up to the procedure. Since it was already banged up, I couldn’t inflict any more pain or hurt my knee any further right? Of course, I’m right but he didn’t see it that way, naturally. So with the knee in its chastity belt and the right shoulder too tender to raise higher than 6″, I wonder what I’ll be doing in the gym. Abs? Maybe just the left knee and just the left arm, and then I’ll look like an alternative version of Popeye, or Scrappy Doo in that Scooby Doo island movie. I am so brain dead.

What are you planning to do this weekend? I was thinking I’d take Eve to a movie on Sunday but now I can’t since the motion of going up and down the stairs is heavily frowned upon by Dr S, party pooper. I told him he was a party pooper. He found that highly amusing. Sigh. And thank the lord it’s 15 minutes. Now. Right now. Like now. Oh c’mon laptop clock. Now? Now? Seriously? Maybe if I pause for a few seconds, it’ll help things along. Thank you god. Now. Done. Fin.

p/s image was added at minute 17 so it doesn’t count

Even before I met my Southern Italian man, I’ve been madly in love with Biscotti. There’s something about biting into its hard exterior and then being met with a soft, crumbly inner which makes me happy. Oh so happy. Feeling all cocky, I first tried making my own Biscotti about three years ago and failed dismally. The rolls bent my knife when I tried slicing into them for the second bake. And when I finally managed to cut a slice without it crumbling to bits before my very eyes, it sent me into a fit of hacking coughs. Yes, it was that dry.

We’ve been through the ringer, Biscotti and I, and I’m proud to say that the Italian dessert no longer has me beat :) try this Ginger Nutmeg Biscotti recipe (is it not perfect for Fall?) and let me know if your adventures with Biscotti were as dramatic as mine.

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MIX A

2 cups cake flour (I use King Arthur’s Queen Guinevere Flour, you could substitute with the Perfect Pastry Flour or Swan)

1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground mace

3/4 tsp salt

 

MIX B

1/2 cup dark sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canola or vegetable or olive oil (I used the latter and the taste was lovely)

2 tbsp Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract

1 jumbo egg

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  We’re using the centre rack.  Lightly spritz a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. This is the one and only time I use the spray because butter would make the batter runny and spread out.

Combine ingredients listed in Mix A in a large bowl.

In a separate, smaller bowl, combine Mix B until thoroughly integrated and a fairly dry dough appears.  Divide into three.  On a lightly floured surface (make sure your hands are lightly floured too, just lightly otherwise the excess flour will work into the dough as you shape it and harden it), shape each portion of the dough into a log about 1 1/2″ wide by 1″ tall.  The length should be between 8 to 9″.  Transfer the logs to the pre-prepped baking sheet and place them in the centre, about 1 1/2″ apart.

Bake for about 20 minutes or when the logs are firm to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let logs cool for around 15 minutes.  Then with a serrated knife, cut them crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.  Place Biscotti back onto tray and bake for no more than 5 minutes on each side, at 300 degrees F.  You can check ever so often to ensure they’re not browning.

Let cooked Biscotti stand for an additional 10 minutes prior to serving (Lavazza Qualita Oro coffee optional but highly recommended for those craving the bells and whistles). Biscotti will crisp as it cools. Pinkie promise.

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