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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zoey is 3 Years Old!

Happy Birthday to our beloved little daughter. It's amazing how fast you have grown up. Hope you like your birthday presents from all of us. A Hello Kitty school bag, a beauty and the beast musical box and chocolate birthday cake. I know what a small party we had for you. Apart from the grandparents and us, and your baby sister, Amy's friend, Saroja, was the only birthday guest we manage to invite. Seeing how much you still enjoyed the occasion makes me very pleased. Grandma fried some prawn crackers and some fishes which you would like to eat.

You know, Zoey, you made a big difference in our lives these past 3 years. You brought me and your mother together. You taught us how to care for babies. You showed us how little patience we adults have, and how to be more patient. Yes, babies are so delicate and yet powerful - you taught me to tap the source of love within myself to overcome angry emotions and rage. (So much like the story of the beauty and the beast)

It was a joy to see how you began to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand up, and eventually walk, run and talk. First we played counting numbers while you sat on the edge of the mattress and lifted up and down. Then when you were a little older, you started standing on the mattress and jumping up and down as we count one to one hundred. You have so much energy. I became more tired counting than you jumping.

I hope you take the best of me and your mother. Nothing is perfect in this world and I think it will be tough to pretend that it is. What makes the world more beautiful is that we learn to deal with the imperfection in good ways. Thus, when you see me and your mother disagreeing, I hope you see the strength of love and power of forgiveness that transcends above our intrinsic flaws. Your mother is a more patient person and always gives in to people. I, on the other hand, believes in the development of self-discipline even at tender age, and that is why I tend to be more authoritative and demanding. I hope you will understand when you are older.

I believe parents will be a strong influence in developing their children's voice of conscience. Funny thing that as I try to help you build that voice of conscience, I find my own sometimes flawed. I think as we grow older and encounter more situations and witness other people's behavior, our values and virtues are put to the test. Shall I or shall I not compromise? It is so easy when you are a child. It seems so.

Maybe that is the secret to being happy. Maybe I have been so busy wondering what to teach you next that I forget to learn from you. I remember having to teach you the concept of today, yesterday and tomorrow. I had to say like, yesterday we went to Black Mountain Gym and did so and so, today we stayed at home, tomorrow we will be going to the zoo or something to explain to you the concept of time. Later I had to explain to you what we mean by time. 12 o'clock means lunchtime, 10 o'clock means sleeping time, latest. Morning is when the sun rises and evening is when the sun sets.

I suspect that to you everyday is just an opportunity to have more fun and learning. Perhaps you don't even think in terms of days. There is no past or future, only now and present. I believe you are quite right there. There is only opportunity to treat ourselves and others well. There is only opportunity to do good and think well of ourselves and others. In order to stay young, we must not be afraid or lazy to learn new things. This means your relationship with nature around you is always refreshing. When your relationship stays stagnant or ceases, it seems to say you are tired of life already. So, if I want to stay happy, I must not forget to learn something new every moment I have.

You are always asking questions. Sometimes your questions really amaze me. Like many grown-ups, we have taken so many things for granted. For instance, one of the questions you asked me was why we need to drive on the freeway and I replied so that we could get home. Home is far away and the freeway will connect us quickly. And you asked again, why is home so far away. Sometimes questions like require me to answer in a loopy fashion. I probaby say because it is there and you ask again why it is there and I reply because it is far away and you ask again why it is far away and we get into this do-while loop. Actually I think it is a very good question because we are trying to understand the concept of space and why space exist. I encourage you to continue your inquisitive ways because that is the way to learn about the truth. You will meet people along the way who are discouraging or cannot help you, but do not give up. If you look for it hard and long enough, you will find the answers. Or Or maybe the answers will find you instead.

By now, you can hit the shuttlecocks pretty well at your age. Your mother has done a great job in exposing you to various kinds of sports activities. Apart from badminton, there is soccer, basketball, table tennis and swimming. I can only wish I had those kind of activities when I was younger. I guess I get a second chance now as I get to enjoy these games with you. You won't make a lot of money with badminton, unlike tennis or golf, if you choose to be a professional player in future, but I can assure you it will be a fun as a recreational sports. There is a mental aspect to the game too - maybe the mental aspect is more important than the physical aspect. Remember, the grip is very important.

If there is something lacking here, I think music is it. It seems we haven't spent enough time on this. In spite of this, I see that you enjoy singing your "everything is..." song. And you enjoy dancing too. When you were little like Justine now, your nanny used to feed you the bottle of milk while playing the instrumental music CD. When you were older, we introduced you to the "Sound of Music" on youTube website (the original one seems gone). I thought Do-Re-Mi was a suitable song to begin with. Actually the first song I remember singing or humming to you was Teresa Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart". Try picking up a musical instrument. A piano, guitar or harmonica. It will be your good companion along the journey of life.

Don't forget your caring and sharing ways. Your mother noticed that this is an intrinsic quality in you. A person who keeps everything to himself will be afraid to lose them all. It can be a burden. Better to share what you don't really need. This way, you gain something else in return. I am not sure how much I understand this but maybe I should learn from you.

You brought us many sweet memories these past three years. August 23rd is a special date to many people. To Irene who works at Balboa Park, it is her birthday too. To Saroja and Sandeep, it is their wedding anniversary date. To us, it is a day you came into our lives, bringing with you, the vigors of life and lots of joy. That is how we named you.