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Sunday, February 27, 2005


Somebody should invent a super absorbing adult diaper for pregnant woman, that needs to be changed every 1.5 litre of urine. This is to minimise the need to go to toilet every 20 minutes only to let out drops of it.

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37th Week

This morning we decided to have breakfast in Tanglin Halt market, after two weeks of craving for Hum Chin Peng (without red bean filling). What is Hum Chin Peng? Basically it is the same as Odading (Bandung), Kue Bantal (Jakarta) or Beignet (New Orleans, only without cinnamon and powdered sugar). This stall, located at the left side of the Tanglin Halt Market food court near the corner sell the best Kueh in the area. Along with the great Teh Tarik in the Muslim Stall at the right side of the market (sold by bearded old man), this made a great breakfast for today. The teh tarik is bubbly, but not too sweet nor too bitter. It just tastes great, and it makes you want to drink it over and over again.

BTW, the blood test that I mentioned last week came up normal. However, the doctor highlighted to me that I may be at the edge of pre-eclampsia / pregnancy induced hypertension, since my weight gain has been more than 2 pounds per week and the swelling has reached my thigh. He also noticed that my blood pressure is higher than usual, although still within normal range. The uric acid also at the higher end, although still within normal range. This shows a potential for pre-eclampsia, or that I have tendency for hypertension (yes, it runs in my family). The doctor said nothing much can be done except resting, likely I would need to take my maternity leave even before my baby boy is born – meaning, next week.

*Shrug* I have intended to work until the very last minute, since I only have 8 weeks of maternity leave, and I would rather spending the leave to take care of the baby, and not to rest myself. Yes, I think 8 weeks is too short for maternity leave.

I guess partly it’s also because of my eating habit. During this pregnancy I have been craving for mutton. Almost every afternoon in the office I lunched at the Malay stall that cooks spicy mutton dishes. Moreover, I only drink less than 1 liter of liquid while in office, partly because I just hate going to toilet so often. When I drink a lot of water nowadays, I would need to go to toilet every 20 minutes and the baby is pushing hard on to my bladder, creating a really bad urge to urinate. I suppose all these contribute to my higher blood pressure, and I try to rectify it by resting, drinking water, and eat more veggie, particularly cucumber (my mom’s advice), and obtain protein intake from somewhere else, not from mutton.

By the way, we are considering of banking our baby’s umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cell, mainly because this is our first child, and this particular action could benefit the whole nuclear family (us and the future siblings). In case you are curious, there are two private cord blood banking facilities in Singapore, CordLife and StemCord, offering same service with same price.

After doing our preliminary research at Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Website (a really good non-biased website created by a practicing physician who lost her children), we visited both banks yesterday. In a nutshell, through our interaction with the salesperson, so far we have better impression over CordLife. The salesperson took her time to answer our queries (that we obtained from our research) no matter how technical it is. She even expressed her appreciation of our genuine interests in learning about the technical matter as much as possible. On the other hand, the StemCord salesperson did not seem to address our technical concerns of the product, and seemed to be interested only in selling his products; he was stiff and a bit on defensive side when Indi pulled out a long list of questionnaire. His answers were many times contradictory and indirect. Just to share our comparative study between the two we have the following:

Summary of Singapore Private Cord Blood Banks
Initial PriceS$1100S$1150 (with maternity clothes bonus)
Subsequent YearsS$250S$250
Blood RetrievalTriple bag, closed system. Not syringe - due to higher contamination possibilityEither syringe or triple bag, up to the doctor’s preference
Delivery to labImmediately after delivery through 24hr hotlineNext day if delivery is not during office hours. The blood is kept by hospital nurse until the next day.
ProcessingClosed system, no contact with external environmentUnclear, not explained clearly
Storage MediaBags with four separate compartmentsFour separate vials (2 small + 2 medium)
ContaminationNot recommending storage for viral or bacterial contaminated sample. $500 refund if contaminated and not keptAllowing storage for bacterial contaminated sample (The salesman said bacterial contamination is OK). No refund if sample is viral contaminated and not kept
Cell CountNot recommending storage if cell count is less than 100 million - $500 refund if cell count is low and not keptNot recommending storage if cell count is less than 200 million – full refund if cell count is low and not kept
StorageLiquid Nitro for clean sample, Gas Nitro for contaminated sampleLiquid Nitro for clean sample, Gas Nitro for contaminated sample
ContractAll necessary clausesAll necessary clauses, plus capping storage price increase and not using our sample for own research
OthersLab is viewable by clients (but not to be entered).
Compliant and going for AABB accreditation.
Acting as consultant for Singapore Cord Blood Bank (Public Bank).
Lab is not viewable by client, citing terrorist threats.
Compliant to AABB but does not indicate intent to be accredited.

We haven’t fully decided yet, although we are inclined to CordLife at this moment. Anybody has experience? Please send us your comments.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

36th Week

I have been enjoying my pregnancy. So far I have been active in work and activities. But last week, on my 35th week, I was reminded to slow down a bit. My feet start to get swollen, I got carpal tunnel syndrome at my right arm, and I started to feel pelvic discomfort. I was a bit stressed because I could not be as active as I wanted to be. Perhaps it’s time for me to withdraw myself from this busy world and move up into my hermitage with the baby :> When I went to see my doctor today he was a bit worried of the swollen feet, and I had to do a blood test to see whether there is any sign of preeclampsia. Once I get the result early next week, we’ll find out how soon the baby needs to be delivered. Wish us luck!

Let me talk a bit more about giving up train seats for pregnant women - statistically. So far I have been really lucky. Each morning I boarded MRT, people always give their seat to me. I have been really touched by their courteous gesture. Most of the time, it's women in their 20s-30s that give me seat.

As for men, usually older men (aged 40s-50s) will give up their seats. Very rarely teenage boys or men in their 20s would give up their seats. I experience kindness from men in their 20s only once, when a Singapore Poly student gave up his seat for me (bravo Singapore Poly, for the courtesy). Perhaps this shows that usually men who experienced being a husband and father have more empathy towards pregnant women.

One interesting experience I'd like to highlight is when I went home from Newton in early February. I boarded a crowded East-West line train from Raffles City. It was so crowded, I happen to be pushed to stand in front of this young lad. Upon seeing me, he immediately fell asleep! And then, since the train was so crowded, once I lost my balance and almost tripped on this guy, and woke him a bit. But upon seeing my big belly, he immediately fell into deep sleep again. I grinned, because the funny thing is that he sat (and pretend to sleep) directly under the sign that says "Please offer this seat to someone who needs it more than you do", with illustration of elderly people and pregnant women.

For me, at that time, I still have the energy to stand up and I did not want to fight with other people to get my right. If people do not want to give up their seat, it's OK, I'm not going to faint or whatever, at least at that time I still have the energy. But imagine if it's other pregnant women who badly need the seat because of swollen feet or weak balance!

Other passengers also noticed this incident. A couple who stood up at the other end of the train as well as a JC student offered me their seats, but it was too far to walk and the train was too crowded. So I thanked them for the offer. Obviously, the couple was disturbed by this incident, they decided to take photo of me and the 'pretender' using their handphone camera (then I took photo of this funny incident too - see above).

To add to the irony of this incident, when the train reached one station, this guy immediately stood up and exit the train. Imagine, a guy, who was deeply asleep and was not disturbed by pregnant women who bumped into his knees all along the way, was able to know which station to board. I mean, if he was really in a deep sleep, by no means he would definitely miss the station he was supposed to alight.

So, guys, be more sensitive, or else you would get bad press on other people's private blog... hehehe...

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Friday, February 18, 2005

It's Good To Be Me...

It's Good To Be Me...

I get to do a little photography, whenever I want to...
I get to play a little golf, whenever I want to...
I get to play trumpet on stage, whenever I want to...
I get to iron clothes, whenever I want to...
I get to do a little photography, whenever I want to...
I get to work in a corporation, whenever I want to...
I get to do what I like to do, whenever I want to...

After all, I get to become a good husband (and, soon, a father) just like I have always wanted to...

Life has been good to me :)

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

A great taste of Mocca

I want my baby boy to grow up listening to Mocca!

Ever since they performed at IAF 2003 at Victoria Hall, I have always adored Mocca, which has sold 300,000 of its first album My Diary. My first encounter with them was when our band Karib Gembira was performing some latin-jazz pieces just before Mocca did... So that's how we got to know Mocca :) However, last night they did it MUCH BETTER: continuous interaction with audience and tighter timing between their musical phrases.

(Click image for soundclip: On The Night Like This)

It is now 2005 and I was stunned by the harmonious integrity of the quartet (singer/flute/bass/lead guitar/drums) backed by carefully defined rhythm guitar/piano/sax/trombone/trumpet section.

Oh by the way:

  • Arina Simangunsong is the one that skillfully switches between vocal chords and flute at her will.
  • Toma, the bass player, always plays solid on bass and many times sang in harmony with Arina.
  • The drummer, Indra, is like a machine with fuzzy logic - accurate but not to mechanistic, which I very much enjoyed.
  • The guitar player, Riko does it just right. He is constantly in the "zone" making sure everything is right on the back burner.
  • Ihsan plays such a sweet picking job. His stance makes him look very much "out there"
  • Agung, the pianist, plays accordion but does not use the bass buttons - I promised to him that I will send him a book on accordion bass buttons :)
  • The sax player, Mira, plays it so well... but wait... she also plays clarinet and flute! Very charming in her intonation...
  • Tommy hits the high C on trumpet effortlessly (too bad that he did not do much solo like Mira did).
  • Dian was super on trombone. However, his conga technique still needs to be developed; his open tones, muffed and closed slaps are not yet clearly defined - as far as choice of rhythm is concerned, he should have played Son Montuno rhythm for the acoustic session.

My pregnant wife Rani, who is now entering her 34th week, could not sit still and neither could I! We were probably the most obnoxious fans at that time. It was great that we could get Arina's attention throughout the show... A true interaction between perfomers and audience.

What I noticed from last night's performance was the way Arina communicates her message to the audience... Her gestures and expressions were confident yet witty.

Since I don't know how to describe their genre perhaps I could try to explain it to you in this set of words:

Charming, Engaging, Sweet and Mystifying....

All in all, you should try to catch them tonight at Esplanade outdoor stage. You will definitely see Rani and I near the front of the stage.
Mocca were nominated for Favourite Artist Indonesia at the 2004 MTV Asia Awards held in Singapore. They've just released their second album, Friends, which will be available at the gig.

Go early to get the best seats at the Esplanade outdoor stage!


Friday February 4, 2005
7:30-8:15pm The Marilyns
8:45-9:30pm Mocca

Saturday February 5, 2005
7:30-8:15pm Serenaide
8:45-9:30pm Mocca
10-10:30pm Mocca

Sunday February 6, 2005
7:30-8:15pm Couple
8:45-9:30pm Mocca

PS: The Marilyn's should go to JB instead of Esplanade. They are a worthless piece "kepiting"!

PSS: Mocca is WAY WAY WAY much better than Sheila On 7 or Cokelat or any of those that most Indonesians teenagers adore - Mocca serves a healthy diet for all ages!

A splendid combination of Flute and Vocal Chords by Arina
(Click image for soundclip: I Think I'm In Love)

Riko does it just enough to add some soul to the accompaniment
(Click image for soundclip: My Only One)

Accurate yet fluid... that' s Mocca's brass section!

Poster signing for the fans

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