On Corona Virus, Life, Death, and Everything Else In Between (Alternative Title: I’m Back!)

It’s been a while, crocodile. Understatement of the year. So much has happened since the last time I updated this blog that I can’t possibly squeeze all of them into a single post. And along the way, blogging has, it seems, gone passé with the rise of social media and the instant gratification that they bring.

But then again, I started this blog some 14 years ago when I was taking care of twin boys, sleep-deprived, housebound, with no other venting outlet other than this virtual journal of sorts. This blog was my escape, a virtual space that I could call my own, a place where I could write anything I wanted. It’s quite ironic that I find myself pounding away on my keyboard yet again on the wee hours of the night, in dire need of sleep, housebound yet again (this time, due to the Novel Corona Virus), and with an explosion of thoughts fighting for space inside my head. I am right back where I started.

I’ve always found solace in the stillness of these hours, where my inner voice can find a way to emerge from amidst the cacophony of innumerable trains of thought, random ideas, and sudden bursts of memory. As the rest of the world sleeps, and with my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, I can finally hear myself think. And I realised with a start that, at the core of all this panic of the Corona Virus, people are actually simply afraid of the unknown — all the things that we don’t know about the virus: its origins; its exact method of transmission; its cure and prevention; and, the ultimate unknown of all, death itself.

But while it’s true that the Corona virus has caused thousands of deaths in such a short span of time, the truth of the matter is that death is inevitable and has been written for all of us long before we even existed within our mother’s wombs. Getting infected with this virus is, putting it in a rather blasé way, just another way to die. We will all die one way or another. What is most important is — how do we live this life that we have been given so that, by the time the Angel of Death makes himself apparent, we can go without fear nor regret?

Wherever you are, whoever you are, treasure the time that you have now with the people you love. Use this time to do the things you’ve always wanted to start but never had the time to do so. Start writing that book. Or learning to paint. Or taking that online course. Take the time to reconnect with old friends via phone call, email, or text. Make this virus an excuse to mend relationships that are in dire need of mending, by simply saying “Hope you and your family are well” or “You’re in my thoughts and prayers”, when perhaps, what you actually want to say is “I’m sorry” or “Can we start over again?”.

Life is good. And yes, blogging world, I am back!!!


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Welcome To My New Home!

Welcome to the new home for Sleepless In KL. It’s only fitting to have it parked under a .MY domain (MY = Malaysia), n’est-ce pas? ;)

This site is currently being updated, an arduous task that might take some time to complete so I apologise for any broken links and whatnot.

In the meantime, do write in the comments what topics you’d like me to write about more. À bientôt!



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Transitions

“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus

It’s hard to believe it’s now August 2018 and my last post was eight months ago. I could have easily had a baby within that period haha! But, for the record, I didn’t :P

So many things have changed. I’ve had a career change. I started baking — as in, people pay me to make cakes for them (will write a separate post on my baking journey later!). The twins are now in secondary school (that’s high school for my American friends). Little Dragon is now in preschool. Even Malaysia has changed. For the first time in 60 years, the ruling party was ousted in the 14th General Elections and former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Muhammad is…well…Prime Minister again.

Malaysia butterflyMy husband was fascinated at the fervour I showed over the changes in the Malaysian political scene, spending almost every waking hour checking from updates on Twitter starting around the night when votes were being counted. I told him it’s because the events that unfolded reminded me so much of the Philippines’ own peaceful People Power revolution. I told him I’ve known what life was like under a dictator who plundered a country, leaving it destitute.

What I forgot to tell him is that part of watching Malaysia metamorphose from an unknown country in the early nineties to what it is today. When I first came to KL in 1993, I spent an inordinate amount of time chatting on IRC and it always peeved me how most people had no idea where or what Malaysia was. I ended up with a pre-composed answer that I could copy and paste — something along the lines of “Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, located between  Thailand and Singapore.” I’ve seen Petronas Twin Towers and SMART Tunnel being constructed…and, it goes without saying, suffered through the traffic ordeal that came with all the digging and building. I was baffled at the outrageous sodomy allegations against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim…and found myself in a spot when my then little girl asked me innocently, as she stared at anti-Anwar posters under a flyover “Mama, what does liwat mean?” I’ve seen the Malaysian economy rise and fall then rise again and eventually just spiral downwards, making me wonder if I made a monumental mistake migrating to Malaysia. (Later on, I found out that my mom wondered the same thing and was even contemplating on moving back to the Philippines.) But, praise be to God, I also saw change and now, I feel more hopeful about the future of my children.

So yeah, life’s good despite and because of all the changes.

 

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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Talk about time flying! The twins will turn 12 this year. Is that how long I’ve been blogging??

Meanwhile, enjoy this 6-second video clip of the fireworks over KLCC Park last night, as viewed from Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur’s Club Lounge on the 24th floor.

All the best for 2018!

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Snapseed — My Favourite Mobile Phone Editing App To Date

Now that most everyone has a smartphone with a camera, everyone can take endless pics anytime, anywhere. And with the plethora of free mobile editing apps available in the market, one can easily get overwhelmed and simply rely on ratings and/or recommendations from friends. I went the old-fashioned route and followed the recommendation of my younger brother. With all the praises he’s been heaping on Snapseed, I had no choice but try it out for myself. So I gave it a test drive…and got hooked! Until today, I use Snapseed a lot of tweaking pics on my Android smartphone.

To illustrate how easy it is to edit a pic using Snapseed, here’s a pic that my mum, Lola, snapped today. She is in the Philippines right now for a short holiday with some of our relatives. She sent me several sunset pics and asked me to pick one. I chose this one:
original pic

I told her that the pic would probably look better with the beach cropped out since it’s too dark anyway and does not show any interesting details. I also took a screenshot of the pic prior to the actual cropping, to demonstrate to her the Rule of Thirds.

rule-of-thirds

After opening the pic in Snapseed, I simply clicked on ‘Tune Image’ and adjusted the sliders for contrast, ambience, and saturation. And in less than five minutes, voila! I get this pic:

final - warm

I also tried making a bluer version of the pic (after my daughter commented that the pic above is a bit too warm — my own personal preference) simply by adjusting the colour curves in Snapseed.

final-blue

So which pic do you like better? The warm (orange/red) version or the cool (blue/purple) version? What apps do you use for editing pics in your smartphone? Please share in the comments :)

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