Friday, October 28, 2005

Iban Tattoos

Last night I watched a repeat of Taboo: Tattoo on the National Geographic Channel. This program was first aired in February 2003.

One segment of the program featured the much tattooed Ernesto Kalum (standing right in picture) of Borneo Headhunter, a tattoo studio based in Kuching, Sarawak. I was rather impressed by this young Iban man. He has, almost single handedly, revived the art of traditional Iban tattooing in Sarawak. According to his resume, he has won numerous awards for his craft at international tattoo conventions.

When I saw the program on National Geographic Channel, I felt the same way I did when I saw Sarawak featured in Anthony Bourdain's travel/food show. I was bursting with pride that the Iban people's culture of tattooing was seen in American homes via the television.

It is a pity, though, that Iban tattooing is a dying art. That is why people like Ernesto Kalum are important in preserving the Iban traditional art and practice of tattooing.

To the Iban, tattooing, among other things, is associated with spiritual beliefs, rites of initiatiation, symbols of social rank and accomplishments in war.
Iban tattoos are specific to particular parts of the body. For instance, images of jar appear on the neck, the brinjal flower on the forepart of shoulders; scorpion on the hands and other images appear regularly on the backs and legs. Interestingly, tattoos for women are predominantly on the hands and forearms with limited designs like bracelet, ring and dot; and tattoos on the throat are distinctively meant for men only. (Source: Welcome to Kapit Tourism)
I wish that the young Iban men who want to sport a tattoo or two on their bodies would choose the traditional motifs to the more modern western designs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Necklaces

The beads I used on this necklace is aventurine. Adventurine is quite soft, therefore bruises easily. But they are pretty and warm to the skin. :-)

I was at a bead show in Sacramento last year and I was like a kid at a candy store. I bought the orange-gray vintage beads at the show and have added pale colored swarovski crystals and silver metal beads for this creation.

This necklace is made of yellowish-brown glass beads. The beads were given to me by my mother-in-law who'd been collecting beads for years and years.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stressed Out?

I think, no, I KNOW, that I am going through some kind of stress. I find that the smallest
things irritate and upset me, am easily fatigued, have insomnia, have an acid stomach, often feel that I am not in control of things, and worse, have been diagnosed with hypertension.

I know I need to learn to relax more, not let the small things bother me, but these are easier said than done.

Has motherhood done that to me? :-( Looking after 2 very young children is hard work. I knew it was going to be a lot of work before I had the children, but didn't realize, quite naively, that it was going to take quite the emotional and physical toil.

I cannot neglect my responsibilities as mother and wife just so I can avoid the situation that causes the stress. How I wished that was possible though! :-)

So how do I help myself? According to a stress management tip, since I cannot avoid the stressful situation, I can change my response to the stress. I should learn to pick my battles.

This morning, when I entered the children's bedroom, clothes were strewn all over the floor. The night before I spent quite a bit of time, folding the freshly washed laundry. And today same said clothes were all over the floor! :-( This was not the first time, yet my response was predictably the same. Yelled at the kids and spanked one for good measure.

That reaction was not the best, I know. It did not help the state of my blood pressure that early in the morning.

This coming weekend, I am going off on a weekend retreat in the mountains with 3 other ladies. I am really looking forward to this time, to being away from the family, and the demands of wife and mother. I have been thinking about going away some where for some quiet and relaxation for quite some time now and when the opportunity for a weekend retreat was presented to me, it was like a god send.

I have also decided to listen to less talk radio especially in the afternoons. I love listening to talk radio but at times, the topics being discussed can get me all worked up! :-) So now I am listening to a lot more christian radio and its more uplifting music and encouraging topics.

I know that I need to exercise. When it comes to exercising, I am the laziest person around. Exercise is supposed to be good for the pent up energies and tense muscles. Yeah, like I didn't know that! :-) I have an exercise bicycle in my room and its handle bars have become a place to hang clothes and hand bag.

Ok, will report more on my progress on stress management in coming entries to this blog.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Blogskin

Yes, after following a link from a search engine on Blogger blogskins, and after browsing through the site, I decided to go for a new look. :-) I liked the previous green look, but there were just too many with the same look! Hehehehe. This is now my 3rd blogskin.

One thing I wished was available on this new look, was the border around the pictures. There is no border for any picture that I post on the blog. I like the fine border around the pictures in the previous blogskin.

I want to add something, say a little gif, in the title banner space but just don't know how to do it. :-( I tried, but I guess I just don't know enough about codes to know what I am doing.

Well, happy blogging to all! :-)

Here We Go Again

Hurricane Wilma, a category 3 hurricane as of writing, is going to hit landfall (south western Florida) some time at dawn tomorrow. This seems to be the busiest hurricane season on record, and Wilma is the 12th named hurricane of the season.

The next storm is tropical storm Alpha, and it has already killed 5 in Haiti. All the names for the storms in the alphabet has been used so the storms after that are named after the Greek alphabet.

I've been doing some reading on how hurricanes form and this article from USA Today is helpful in that understanding.

Source: Hurricane Watch by Dr. Bob Sheets and Jack Williams

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Tribute

I read with great sadness the passing of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, 64, the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. She passed away on Thursday after battling breast cancer for the last 3 years. Her twin sister had also succumbed to breast cancer in 2003.

From all accounts, Datin Seri Endon was gracious, humble and unassuming. She had been very involved in awareness programs for breast cancer. Malaysians from all walks of life will miss this unassuming first lady of Malaysia.

Personally, I had 3 friends who died of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a leading cause in illness-related fatalities for women in Malaysia. According to the American Cancer Society (Cancer Facts and Figures 2005), an estimated 211,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2005 alone.

I have never had a mammogram done, but I have an appointment in November for a mammography. It is very important for women to do breast self examination once a month and see a doctor quickly if any irregularity is detected. If detected early, breast cancer has a very high survival rate. Women with a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer before age 50, should be extra vigilant of the disease.

Remember, breast cancer awareness raises the survival rate.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Higher Warning?

A few days ago, Pat Robertson, a prominent American evangelist and who has been called a religious nut by his critics, said that the frequency of the natural disasters that occured recently are signs of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
On an Oct. 9 episode of CNN's "Late Edition," the preacher noted that hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita and earthquakes like the ones that struck Pakistan this past weekend and the tsunami-causing one that struck Indonesia last December are hitting with "amazing regularity."
The Bible does say that before the end times, there will be "wars and rumors of wars", and there will be an increase in "famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-8)

But according to scientists, Earth is doing what she always does. Seth Stein, a seismologists at Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences,
"I don't think there's any reason to believe the frequency of large earthquakes has changed over the past million years," Stein told LiveScience. "That's contrary to everything we know about how the Earth works."
As to the hurricanes which seem to be occuring more frequently than in the past, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), says that we are experiencing a highly active hurricane cycle which can last between 20-30 years.

So what say you? Signs of the end times or just Mother Nature doing what she does best? :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Various shaped glass beads make an interesting looking necklace. Posted by Picasa

Round tiger eye and disc gold beads Posted by Picasa

Brown glass beads and gold filligree beads. Posted by Picasa

Jilted Singaporean Teen Goes on Sex Binge

The Star - Monday October 10, 2005

A HEARTBROKEN teenager in Singapore had had sex with 60 strangers in the past eight months after her boyfriend dumped her, Sin Chew Daily reported.

The 17-year-old girl did it to get even with her boyfriend, after he met another girl online.

The jilted teenager, too, found her men on the Net by posting her photos, personal particulars and the type of man she was looking for.

The daily said the teenager would charge S$150 (RM360) for each sexual service and, sometimes, even gave it free to men she liked.
Just how desperate or heartbroken can one be to act like this? Is she trying to punish her boyfriend for dumping her by giving sex freely to strangers? Or is she punishing herself for not being able to keep her boyfriend from dumping her?

Just musing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Whose Fault?

A woman gets pregnant, and she's not married to the man who got her pregnant.

Whose fault is it? Was it her fault, knowing that being female, the likelihood of getting pregnant is always there if you engage in sex?

Is it ever the man's fault? He's a man, he can't get pregnant so if a woman is willing to have sex with him, it's not his fault that she gets pregnant!

This is exactly what a guy in an online forum says! Did that comment make me simmer!

In the Iban culture, which is still very traditional, to get pregnant out of wedlock brings shame and disgrace to the pregnant woman and to the family. The family usually pressures the woman and the man who got her pregnant to marry. However, if the man runs off and does not do his "duty", then the poor girl will have to give up the child for adoption. It is quite rare for an unmarried woman to raise her child herself. If she chooses not to give up her child, her parents will raise the child for her.

So whose fault is it when a woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock? Is the answer ever one or the other's fault? Are both at fault? Or does there ever have to be anyone's fault?

I would like to think both are at fault, if the word "fault" is to be used. It does take two to tango. But behind the "fault" argument there are a lot more that come into play. Most Iban parents don't talk to their children about sex and the consequences of sex outside of marriage. Schools barely teach sex education. And in a society where the womenfolk serve their men, it is easy for a gullible young woman to be persuaded into proving her "love" for a man. And then there's the influence of free sex on tv, songs, movies, and the availability of pornography on the internet that feeds the curiosity of the impressionable. And let us not forget peer pressure which has a powerful effect on the actions and directions of the impressionable.

My advice to the single women in the forum, stay away from men who say that it will their fault if they get pregnant!