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Friday, March 20, 2009
Seeing Butterflies

(written on 20th February 2009)

In ancient Greek the word for butterfly is "Psyche", which translated means "soul". This was also the name for Eros' human lover and the two figures are often depicted surrounded by butterflies.


The first time I saw the butterfly, it was sitting on the grey marble wall. It had an outline of black and dots of reddish orange. It flapped a few times, wrestling the afternoon wind. Then it gently floated across the garden onto a plump green leaf of a palm. It was at that very moment that I thought of the title for this entry, “Seeing Butterflies”.

Butterflies usually symbolized a change in life. Perhaps it is a left turn off the course of what you usually call ‘normal’ or a step towards the right direction. Whatever it is, butterflies and a change in your life is often welcomed, especially if the changes are good or desired.


‘Look the right,’ she said. She took a step forward and stared intently. ‘Your nose is still the same size,’ she concluded, as if she expected my nose to balloon.


I have not written since my last entry in August. That is a change, wouldn’t you think? There were some changes in my private life and I felt that I needed some space in order to grow and change. I think many readers have realised that I will only write about things that I wish to share. And when I do not have anything to share, I just don’t.

I wrote many times but published none. There were times when I feared that I would lose all my readers, which took me more than 2 years to build. But then I realised that I had changed and those figures do not matter much to me anymore.

I had reached a point in my life where I feel peace. My soul is at rest and I am happy just where I was. That was a huge change, one that took some effort and time to acclimatize.

Do you know that it takes courage to be happy?


‘Hey you, I’m dropping by,’ YC bleated like a sheep on the phone. And when I arrived to pick her up, it took her some seconds to recognize the car. Just like a butterfly’s metamorphosis, even my wheels went through a change last year. ‘You got yourself a new car?’ she asked as she plopped herself into the passenger seat.

We decided to have some nibbles in a Korean restaurant nearby. ‘Check out those tits,’ I teased. Mine were overflowing through the pink blouse. ‘My tits more than twice your size wei.’

I don’t think she finds it funny at all.


We bought a house and renovation began in September. We tore down the floors and replaced them with granite on the ground floor and Merbau wood on the remaining two floors. The kitchen went in sometime in October and November was spent chasing after the plumber, who had never seen the washing machine plumbed next to a sink in the utilities.

We were supposed to move in 3 days before Christmas, which was postponed to 2 days before and then the day before. We finally slept in our bed for the first time on the 28th of December last year. I took a sabbatical and for the following 30 days, we spent it in the house blissful and happily waking up whenever we felt like.

Days that were spent zipping around the city, working in the office, chasing after clients, meeting friends, having meals and shopping were soon replaced with searching furniture pieces, strangling the plumber and arranging our very first lion dance during the Lunar New Year. These were punctuated only by visits to the doctor’s.

Nights were filled with cuddles and kisses, sometimes in bed but often time on the plush sofa, which was our very first purchase for the home. We fell asleep in front of the TV, preferably to CSI or some movie than Discovery Turbo (if you know what I mean).


‘Are you sure that it is a boy?’ she asked, staring at my nose again. ‘Your nose is nice and sharp. Boys usually mean fat, ugly noses.’

In reality, I had the very same conversation with a couple of friends. It is either the nose or the belly. Sharp belly equals a boy and a fat, round belly means buying everything in pink. I cannot agree with the nose statement because my nose is still as cute as a button despite seeing my baby’s nuts on the ultra scans twice.

However there is something about the sharp or round belly. You see, Eve has a rounded belly and guess what? She’s having a girl. I have a sharp, pointy belly and it is undeniably a pair of nuts during each monthly scan. A trip to the doctor confirmed that Eve and I must have been doing the horizontal tango on the same day.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning…


‘Honey, I think we need to talk,’ I said from one side of the door.

‘What is it?’ he said from the other side. He was packing our stuff for the Singapore F1 Night Race. That is one of the more endearing qualities he possessed. He packed my clothes, shoes and make-up into bags at each trip. (He said he had replaced the Indonesian maid but I digress).

‘I think we’re pregnant,’ I said. Needless to say, I felt miserable in Singapore as any fabulous girl would feel if she found out that she was expecting a crying package in nine months or so. Nothing says ‘miserable’ like the act of dragging a slurring, drunk 41 year-old man whom I lovingly called ‘ancient’ home.

Let’s up that statement a little. Nothing says ‘miserable’ like the act of dragging a slurring drunk 41 year old man on the same day you found out that you had to lay off those 4 inch platforms for some months because there was a bun in the oven.

He made up for it on Sunday night though. He took me on a crazy trishaw ride and all that I could see was a river reflecting lights off buildings and roads. I had not laughed or screamed so hard for a very long time.


I like this change. I really do. I yearned for it for the longest time. Many people were caught by surprise. Even you must have thought that I was a colourful party creature with a winsome smile, flirtatious eyes and conversations that entrapped many men. I guess those were true (or at least I would like to think that I do at my ripe old age) but only to a certain extend. If you really know me deep inside, you will know that I am more than that.

Or less than that, as YC discovered the very first time she met me. She found me quite plain and I took it as a compliment. Some compliments are better in smaller doses.


It was amazing to watch the butterfly. It sat prettily on the leaf, dainty and graceful, even as the wind tossed the leaf a few inches up and down. Changes are like that, I guess - tossing you and moving you along life’s many routes. You have to hold on tight if you want to survive the trip. Just remember to put on your best smile and highest heels and float gently like the butterfly.

The garden was wet after an hour of watering. Then the rain came to water the new garden a little more. It is always the same story. It rains whenever I drench the garden in water but it never seem to pour when I forget.


Today is his birthday and we are apart for the first time. It was not always this way. We were together for our last two birthdays and he was a very good friend during those years. Now we share a house, the house mortgage that we thankfully can afford, two cars and a soon to arrive maid. However nothing beats the excitement of sharing a baby together.

It is those butterflies at work again. He is in Indonesia and I will soon join him. The last two years were full of changes. Changes are good when you grow and renew your soul. I look forward to a little time for myself. I am excited about a new life and I am not sure if I will make a good mother. All I know is that I will try my best.

When we are apart, he calls me each night. That he has done for more than two years and is also yet another endearing quality. He sends me a message when he wakes up and again when he sleeps. If I could be in Indonesia, I would have flown in an instance. I am no longer allowed to fly until the baby is born. Thenafter, I think we shall be traveling quite a lot between Malaysia and Indonesia and then again, twice more to Europe each year.

This will be the longest time we are apart, a whole 3 weeks. He will of course come back soon and travel back and forth until the baby is matured enough to travel to Europe to meet the family. Then we will all be in Indonesia – baby and I there on alternate months until his contract (and the economic gloom) runs its course. Quite a long metamorphosis, I guess.


I saw two purple butterflies. Purple pygmy butterflies, they must have been. They were the smallest that I have ever seen.

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