Mrs. Goose’s & Brian’s Adventures: Mrs. Goose to the Rescue! new

Brian, an intriguingly imaginative little boy on a mission, one day an astronaut by night, the next,    swashbuckling pirate by day, finds himself getting into trouble when all he wants to do is save the  world and reveal all its mysteries.

His Math teacher, Mr. Fraction, puts him down every day, sending him to the ‘stand-alone’ corner,  while his Mum, Mrs. Smith is worried about her little boy, that just cannot seem to settle down to  get anything accomplished!

Mrs. Goose, however, realizes that little Brian has a bit of magic in him, if only she can come up with  a plan to channel his curiosity in the right direction. And she does!

Join little Brian on his journey that turns him from a distracted little boy to one who can achieve  anything he sets his mind to!


Mrs. Goose’s & Brian’s Adventures: Mrs. Goose to the Rescue!

The yellow moon was winking at Brian, as little Brian crawled under his spaceship-printed blue bed covers, in his matching astronaut-printed pajamas. Brian winked back, making a silly lopsided face, sticking his tongue out at the moon.

The neon blue and yellow stick-on stars and asteroids on his bedroom ceiling twinkled at him. Brian looked at them and sighed, “Ok boo to you too!”

The stars and asteroids sighed back at him.

“Brian, you know better than to be rude! When the spaceship takes off we all have to work together, you know!” Mr. Asteroid-In-Charge drawled.

“Click-click-click!” tapped Mrs. Smith’s heels against the floorboards.

“Shoo, shoo! All of you! Mum’s back from dinner! She must not find out about Mission Milky Way!” screeched Brian, as quietly as he could, if that was even possible!

He then quickly assumed a peaceful position of slumber.

“Knock! Knock! My pretend sleepy head!”  Mrs. Smith whispered, with a knowing smile on her face as she entered Brian’s room.

She walked towards his bed and ruffled his brown hair, knowing all too well that Brian was awake.What was she to do with her little munchkin, that wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t sit still for a meal or wouldn’t even sit through a half-an-hour class?

And true to form, before she knew it, Brian had gallantly jumped out of his covers and was now sitting cross legged on his bed.

“Mum! Mum! Mr. Asteroid wants to know how far away the Milky Way is?” he asked animatedly, jabbing his finger in Mr. Asteroid-In-Charge’s direction.

Mr. Asteroid yawned and rolled his eyes in Brian’s direction, indicating his displeasure.  Mrs. Smith carried Brian from his sitting position and tucked him under his covers.

As she walked away, she warned “No more talking to Mr. Asteroid or tomorrow he’ll be gone, probably to the Milky Way! School tomorrow!”

She gently closed the door behind her and stood there with her ear to the door.  All was quiet, but with that little monkey of hers, she never knew. She took off her shoes and quietly tip-toed to her own bedroom.

At school the next day, the first class was Mr. Fraction’s Math class, which Brian dreaded, because Mr. Fraction had a way of standing straight smack in front of Brian, his vest-covered belly almost protruding into little Brian’s face, while he droned on about the same thing over and over again, “Miserable failure you’ll turn out to be, with that no-good attitude of yours!”

That always put a pit in little Brian’s tummy, but Brian, student by day and currently astronaut by night, would not cry, for every night he had to be strong enough to be a man on a mission!

“ Today my mathematically-challenged class,” said Mr. Fraction in his slow, low voice, as his students looked on at him in anticipation, “we will be examining  the two times two multiplication table,” he said, stifling a yawn, while his round, frameless glasses slipped down his sweaty nose.

He did a sudden about turn, picked up the whiteboard marker and started scribbling.

“Like a mad scientist!” Brian thought to himself, completely forgetting to focus on what Mr. Fraction was scratching away on the white board.

Mr. Fraction faced the class and triumphantly announced, “There are two apples on the board. Each student eats two apples for a snack. How many apples would we need for two students?”

He looked around the classroom and caught Brian looking down at his desk, knocking two knobbly knuckles from each hand on his desktop.

“Brian!” growled Mr. Fraction. Brian’s head snapped up pronto, looking at Mr. Fraction, fear written all over his face.

Now gloom and doom was written all over Mr. Fraction’s red face.

“Why are you playing with your fingers when I’m trying to put some sense into your head, boy?” Mr. Fraction growled, like a beast unleashed from a zoo cage.

Before Brian could explain that he was using his fingers to count how many apples two students would need, Mr. Fraction banished Brian to the ‘stand-alone corner’, where Brian stood for the rest of the period, looking out of the window, watching the clouds morph into ships and boats and daydreamed about being a swashbuckling pirate, a good pirate, protecting the gold coins in the treasure box against the one-eyed pirates that were trying to steal his kingdom’s treasures.

“Good morning Mrs. Goose!” chimed the class as grey-haired Mrs. Goose walked in during second period, forgetting she had left her pencil tucked in her bun. Mrs. Goose was Brian’s favorite teacher of all times. Sometimes she read them funny stories about monsters under the bed and gave them funny writing assignments with titles like What Was Under the Wizard’s Hat?

That one had made him laugh so much, he had written such a good story. Mrs. Goose had given him a special ‘broomstick and witch’ sticker that was shiny and changed colors when you looked at it from different angles! How special!

“Now class, today I’m going to read you a story titled The Lady that Found Herself on the Moon!” she said enthusiastically, her eyes wide with mystery, as she sat herself on the chair with the book, nearly missing the seat and almost falling off it! The class rumbled with laughter and Mrs. Goose joined in.

She opened the book with slow anticipation and started reading the story in an animated voice, pausing at just the right moments and regaling the class with her amazing acting skills, when she noticed that Brian was the only student not paying any attention, staring out of the classroom window.

Mrs. Goose was very worried about these recent developments. It was not the first time she had caught Brian, her usually upbeat student, normally enthralling her with tales of magic wands and special powers, staring sadly out of the classroom window.

Reaching the most exciting part of the story, the height of it, Mrs. Goose slowly closed the storybook, as if on purpose, the students letting out a united chorus of sighs.

“Now class,” she said in a very somber tone, almost losing her footing as she stood up, “The sad part is that the story has no ending. I need all of you to put on your thinking hats and write the best, most excellent ending to this magnificent tale!”

“The best writer gets to read the story in front of the whole class and gets one of my extra special stickers!” Mrs. Goose said in a sing-song tone.

The whole class cheered and clapped. The whole class, except Brian.

As the rest of the class got out their notebooks and started writing, serious looks of concentration on their faces, Mrs. Goose took her seat at her desk, this time with great care, opened her bottom-most ‘secret drawer’ where she kept all her notebooks from her years of teaching.

She pulled out the notebook titled Easily Distracted Boys and flipped through it but could not find what she was looking for. Eager to learn a little more about what Brian was going through, she casually called Brian to her desk.

Brian came forward looking a little more than confused, for he had missed most of the period and was wondering if Mrs. Goose too, was going to give him a scolding of her own, but Mrs. Goose simply pointed at a stack of pencils on her desk next to a pencil sharpener.

“Brian, would you kindly just sharpen those for me and I would be ever so grateful?” Mrs. Goose asked Brian politely.

A little perplexed at Mrs. Goose’s gentle request, Brian started sharpening the pencils, ever so often checking the tips to make sure they were perfectly pointed and then placed them neatly in a row, one after another.

Mrs. Goose realized that if the boy put his mind to something wholeheartedly, he could achieve almost anything! There was something about Brian, something magical, that Mr. Fraction, perhaps hampered by the inability of having a heart, had missed about Brian.

At dinner later that evening, Brian was bursting with energy and excitement, wanting to tell Mrs. Smith a ‘very private secret’ that Mrs. Goose had shared with him, but he did not want to let Mrs. Goose down, so he ate his dinner with fixed concentration, making sure he scraped the last of his peas off his plate, which puzzled Mrs. Smith quite a bit because normally, mid-way through dinner Brian would already be telling her about the Wicked Witch that spoke at the school assembly that day or how flying monkeys had invaded Mr. Fraction’s class, causing a commotion.

Mrs. Smith became even more worried when Brian sat down, no complaints or fairy stories and actually finished his homework for once! She started wondering if something serious was happening to Brian and if she should call the doctor.

She caught herself shaking her feet in nervousness and had to promptly stop herself!

After homework was finished and put away, it was bonding time over marshmallows and hot chocolate. Mrs. Smith quickly seated Brian down next to her, cuddling him even more than usual.

“So, Brian, did anything odd, uh, happen in school today?” Mrs. Smith asked Brian with some hesitation.

“No, not really,” Brian replied casually, “Except Mrs. Goose told me her ‘very private secret’ ”, which begun to worry Mrs. Smith again.

Brian explained that Mrs. Goose told him how much she loved his vivid stories and spunky imagination and that’s why she was always giving him those stickers in his notebook and on his story-telling chart, but a secret she only shared with her very best writers, who happened to be himself this year, he announced quite proudly, was that each day at school he had to pay very close attention to what was happening in every class. Otherwise how was he going to observe situations, people and on goings to become an even better writer?

Also, he had to eat his dinner, so he grew a strong mind, the muscles for good writing and finish all his homework, so he could put his mind at ease during his journal writing.

“Oh yes, journal writing, I almost forgot!” Brain exclaimed, while slapping his forehead with his palm, “I have to get to it now Mum and we have to schedule it into my daily schedule, or how am I going to get a good night’s sleep and become an even better writer?”

Brian walked off with his marshmallows and hot chocolate in hand and headed towards the study, leaving a stumped Mrs. Smith sitting on the edge of the sofa, mouth agape.

”Was this really happening?” she thought to herself, slightly petrified!

When Brian got into bed that night, he tried to ignore the winking moon, got under his covers and shut his eyes tight.

Mr. Asteroid-In-Charge drawled “Not going on Mission Milky Way tonight are we?”

Brian covered his face with his pillow and grouched “We’ve already been there! I wrote about it in my journal you see! But you won’t understand! Now let me go to sleep!”

Soon the bedroom was filled with little Brian’s snores and the stick-on neon blue and yellow stars twinkled softly.

By the end of the week, sticking to Mrs. Goose’s advice, Brian had filled his journal with tales of mystical and wondrous adventures.  His journal was filled with brightly colored stickers that shone brilliantly in the sun, different colored from different angles!

Mrs. Goose announced to the rest of the class that Brian had won the “Thinking Hat of the Week Award” and the rest of the class roared and cheered, throwing imaginary hats into the air.

That night, as Brian crawled into the bed, he fell asleep almost instantaneously. Outside the bedroom, the moon winked at Mr. Asteroid-In-Charge and Mr. Asteroid-In-Charge winked back.  The stick-on stars and asteroids sighed quietly in unison, careful not to wake a snoring little Brian up and slowly, one by one, switched off their twinkling lights and went to sleep.


Agents. Qualified literary gatekeepers?

Insightful and telling about the depressing reality of it…

Indie Hero


A few years ago, Samuel Moffie submitted The Perfect Martini to 100 literary agents. Actually, he submitted 90% of the first twenty pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions disguised as The Perfect Martini. Any guesses on his success rate? 100 out of 100, right? No. Only one agent responded positively, but that’s because the agent recognized the original author. 99 agents declined. Just to be clear, yes, the critically acclaimed, award-winning, nationally revered Kurt Vonnegut. Rejected.

Agents are concerned with commercial viability, that’s first and foremost. Period. Literary quality is a secondary bonus, if present. Now, if Vonnegut wrote a novel where a dominant vampire becomes master to a naive, submissive, shape-shifting werewolf, I’m sure he would have fared better.

Here’s the point. Why spend months, or even years, writing and submitting queries to agents who are clearly looking the other way? If they passed on Kurt Vonnegut, what chance…

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My First Kitty Love: Zippy – Fate or Coincidence?

My First Kitty Love

My First Kitty Love

Having left my public service job as a lecturer, I decided to work from home for  a while before trying my luck as a lecturer in the private sector. In the one year  hiatus that I took, I began tutoring a small group of students for their GCSE  Cambridge ‘A’ Level exams and did some freelance curriculum development that came my way.

After all the tutoring, marking, writing reports to parents and completing curriculum development projects, I was left with time on my hands. Lots of it,  since my husband worked as a flight crew and I was often home hours on end.  Alone. As a prolific animal lover, for as long as I can remember, I wanted to  own a dog as well as a cat. The problem? My husband wasn’t particularly fond of  cats!

I tried to go through all lengths to persuade my husband to adopt a kitten from a pet shelter, picking out the cutest pictures of possible adoptees, but to no avail.

Then, Zippy miraculously happened!

My husband was on one of his usual round island bike rides, but it had started pouring heavily. He made a stop, hoping that the monsoon rain would calm in time, but it didn’t. My husband bought a flimsy make shift rain coat from a 24 hour -convenience store, and continued his cycle back home, with some of his fellow riders that lived around our area.

Somewhere close to an hour back home, he spotted a tiny kitten trying to cross the road, struggling under the hard hitting rain and unrelenting traffic that would not stop. So home came Zippy, shivering and fighting my husband with his claws, while my husband held him safely under his flimsy make shift raincoat, trying to cycle back home as carefully as possible, with one hand on his handlebar. I was greeted at the door with a tired, drenched to the bone husband and the sound of a mewling, petulant kitten. My Pomeranian, Princess, watched on in confusion.

As soon as I understood the situation, I started using my hairdryer to lightly warm hand towels as fast as I could, to dry Zippy up, as he didn’t seem like he would not last the night due to hypothermia. Just as we started to give up hope, at 6 am, he took a few tentative steps slowly, and that was a ‘hurrah’ moment for the both of us!

Ignorant about cat needs at that time, we managed to find a bottle with a straw from which he could sip milk from and he hungrily drank  it, milk trickling down his little cheeks. Later I found out of course, that kittens can’t digest cows’ milk.

Now, many months after, Zippy has turned from a petulant, uncooperative kitten to a father figure to our four other rescue kittens that we adopted from shelters or foster kitten parents

My major worry is his health, as two vets have mentioned that Zippy and Nova (our other rescue) are likely to have some Siamese in them.

In Zippy’s case, this has always translated into stomach and digestive issues, at one point leaving him with a stomach so bloated, it made him utterly miserable.  I made a decision that from that point onwards that one meal would be a salt free meat meal made at home, following proper advice from reliable websites, and the second, a reputable grain free-dry food meal to ensure he and the other kittens got the minerals and vitamins they need, like taurine as well as other essential minerals and nutrients. We also supplement his (and our other our rescues’) food with a vet-recommended L-lysine supplement.

Today, he is a happy paternal figure to our four other rescues kittens, each with their own unique personalities and has been one of my best pets so far in that his love is not just limited to his forever humans, but also his adopted brothers and sisters, my Pomeranian included.

Written for Right Pet.

Princess, My Goofy Dog!

073 At one point in my life, I experienced a bout of what I thought was maternal instinct. It did not help that we had just moved and a little lonely. My husband decided that what would bring some verve to the home, was a perfect cute, cuddly lap dog that would soothe my soul and bring me vitality again.

And oh boy, she did just that, but not in the way we expected! In no way was she a lap dog!

She was full of enthusiasm, spunk and energy. The complete opposite of what we had expected. If you could take her for a walk five times a day, she would voluntarily up and go. When we ate, she had to sit next to us and keep us company.

She still does that, except since she has grown older, she has mellowed a bit.

She is still as goofy as ever and still thinks most strangers are friends and most dogs enjoy a social life just as much as she does!

She was born with a collapsed trachea though, and over the years, is having more difficulty breathing. The other health problem she had was a cyst in the womb and had to undergo a hysterectomy.

I’m looking forward to growing older with Princess, the complete opposite of what I expected from a Pomeranian, but I would not change anything about her, my goofy, fox-nosed girl!

All I can say is don’t judge a dog by generalized descriptions you find online about a breed. This one certainly did not fit the usual description of a Pomeranian, and I love her just the way she is!

Written for RightPet



Brianna & Teela: A Love Story (for children!)

corgi Brianna scrambled onto the kitchen table, receiving a whooshing “Shoo!” from Mrs. Noble. She got off the table, as fast as she could, settling back into her high chair. She looked at all the other chairs around her. They all sat lower than hers and she could not wait till the day she would be able to sit on one of those chairs. They seemed so….normal, yes, normal. That was what her mother, Mrs. Noble would call them.

Grandpapa used to gruff, “Those are for oldies, eh! Yours is special!” But that was when Grandpapa used to be around. Now he was gone.

Brianna, crawled up from her high chair and peeked at the kitchen table. Yippee, she thought, at least snack time would be fun. She saw that Mrs. Noble was filling her snack box with a bologna sandwich, vanilla ice cream flavored yoghurt and two fat, round shaped brownies. At least she would have something to look forward to before she got home at one o’clock for lunch. Grandpapa would call this snack box a ‘celebration box’.

Before she knew it, Brianna heard the school bus screech to a halt along the road, in front of her home. She climbed off her high chair, patted down her pinafore, and grabbed her snack box from her mother. She couldn’t be late for the school bus. Her new best friend, Timothy, would be waiting for her! Before Mrs. Noble could peck a goodbye kiss on Brianna’s pink rounded cheek, Brianna had grabbed her snack box, and was scuttling towards the school bus. Mrs. Noble watched from the doors as Brianna stumbled up the school bus steps. Brianna would jump with glee when she got home today, Mrs. Noble thought. Today, Mr. Noble was bringing home something special. Something special. Just for Brianna.


Brianna shuffled her way down the school bus steps and walked despondently towards her doorstep. The day had not gone the way she thought it would.

You see, it was ‘show and tell’ week at school and everybody had to bring something special to talk about. Earlier in the day, Brianna had brought her Grandpapa’s gold medal to school. It was her turn. The one he was always trying to polish but never seemed to lose its bronze dull.

Timothy had brought his favorite toy, one his mother had made for him out of a sock, his ‘muppet’ Mr. Snookums. He could make Mr. Snookums move left or right, front or back, simply by putting his hand into the sock Mr. Snookums was made out of. Brianna knew that, because Timothy had shown her how he made Mr. Snookums wiggle, before ‘show and tell’.

Mrs. Bazooka was extremely impressed by Timothy’s ability to manipulate Mr. Snookums and clapped with great delight when he told the class he had sewn Mr. Snookums’ eyes on with buttons that had burst, flying off his old shirt that had grown too tight, because he was growing up, but learnt from his mother that children should learn not to waste things as they had to be frugal.

Mrs. Bazooka had even asked him where he learnt such a big word. Frugal. He had explained proudly to the class that being frugal meant one should not waste things.  That made her cheer him on with so much exuberance, she nearly fell off her chair.

Fairy Angela watched from above, her hands clasped tight in prayer, when Brianna got up from her seat proudly and walked to the front of the class, holding her Grandpapa’s gold medal close to her chest. She was the last one to do the ‘show and tell’ today and although Fairy Angela had high hopes for Brianna, tears flowed from her eyes when she saw that the rest of the class was chattering away and that Mrs. Bazooka was nodding off throughout Brianna’s ‘show and tell’, so much so that she hit her head so hard on the table once, that a bulbous red bump started forming on her forehead. It would take almost two weeks and a lot of rubbing for that bulbous bump to finally grow miniscule enough for anyone not  to notice.

Brianna walked back to her group desk, the gold medal that was a dull bronze, hanging from her fingertips, a tear forming in her eyes. Nobody had listened to her and Mrs. Bazooka had yawned a very angry “Thank you,” at Brianna when she had finished, almost as angry as the red bump that was growing slowly but surely on her forehead. Nobody had clapped for her, not even her new best friend, Timothy.

As Brianna sat down and turned towards Timothy, Timothy turned away and continued chatting to Darius, as he had been doing the whole time that Brianna had been explaining how her Grandpapa got the gold medal, animatedly  explaining how Mr. Snookums’ nose had been sewn on using his old shoe laces.

During snack time, Timothy did not sit with her. No one did. Brianna became angry, very angry, at Grandpapa. If his medal was so great, like he had told her about a dozen times in his animated stories, then why didn’t anyone care? Why did they not listen? And why had they not clapped?

Before leaving school, a resentful Brianna threw Grandpapa’s gold medal into the  rubbish bin, but before it could clink to the bottom, Fairy Angela swooped in quickly and retrieved it, hoping that the surprise Mr. Noble had at home for Brianna would help little Briana grow in trust and faith.


The little Corgi pup, Teela, which Mr. Noble had brought home from the pet shelter, waited anxiously for Brianna in the guesthouse where Grandpapa used to live. He had heard her dragging footsteps, but did not bark for Wizard Gomez had told him not to. He had given Wizard Gomez his word that he would make sure he would surprise the little girl Brianna, his new forever human.

You see, while little boys and girls had their own Fairies, little puppies had their own Wizards.

Outside Mr. and Mrs. Noble, noticing that Brianna looked a little upset, decided that lunch could wait.

“Brianna, let’s go visit Grandpapa’s guesthouse,” Mrs. Noble spoke to Brianna in soothing tones, while patting little Brianna’s shoulder.

The miserable day forgotten, Brianna’s eyes lit up and sparkled! She rarely got to visit Grandpapa’s guesthouse ever since Grandpapa had left. What could it be? Had Grandpapa returned? Would she have someone to talk to again and someone to tell her that her curly ginger hair was the most beautiful hair he had ever seen?

All these thoughts and questions filled her mind as Mr. and Mrs. Noble, together with Brianna, walked towards the old guesthouse. Actually, Brianna skipped. This made Fairy Angela extremely happy. Brianna would have Teela to confide in now!

Or so she thought, because as soon as Brianna spotted Teela in the guesthouse, Brianna turned around sobbing and ran towards the house, running up to her room, slamming the door.

She had expected to see Grandpapa there, his arms wide open to greet her, but instead she found this tiny puppy wagging its short tail furiously at her, smiling, his wet tongue hanging out.


Mrs. Noble had been walking Teela in the front yard and back yard every morning for the last three days, and while Teela quite enjoyed Mrs. Noble’s soft mutterings in Teela’s ears, the gentle patting and generous bowls of yummy kibbles, unlike the soggy ones she got at the pet shelter, Teela hadn’t seen her forever human Brianna in the last three days.

Feeling a little disheartened, the little pup sat slumped to the ground, chin resting on its two front crossed paws. Teela thought about all the fun she had hoped she and Brianna would have together, playing fetch and sitting by the porch side by side while Brianna told her about her adventures at school. Teela let out a low sigh, settling her tail between her legs.

Suddenly, the little Corgi pup jumped to her feet. She remembered now! “I remember, I remember, I remember!” she sang to herself as she ran around in circles, leaving tiny imprints of her paws on the floorboards.  Mrs. Noble had forgotten to wipe Teela’s paws from this morning’s walk.

Wizard Gomez had come to Teela’s dream last night and had told Teela that the answer would be in the wooden chest at the far right corner of the guesthouse house. But what exactly had Wizard Gomez said? Teela had been so filled up with her chicken and carrot meal that she had slept too soundly through the dream.

“There is only one thing to be done now! Find out what is in that chest of drawers!” Teela thought to herself determinedly, sticking her little chest out and nodding her furry head with determination.

Teela trotted as quickly as she could, towards the chest of drawers, leaving her itsy bitsy paw prints all over the place, and started working on opening the lowest drawer of the chest with her small front paws. It was hard work for a little pup, but it had to be done!


Meanwhile, Brianna had just gotten off the school bus and was making her way back to the house, tugging at the straps of her pink glitter Princess back pack. Midway through her walk through the garden, she stopped in her tracks.

Curiosity about this new little pup started creeping up on her. She had been thinking about the pup at snack time in school too. It was getting awfully lonely with no one to talk to now that she no longer had a new best friend, and now that her old best friend, Grandpapa had been gone too.

She made a right detour from the cobblestoned walkway to her house, heading towards the guesthouse. As she approached the house she could hear some scrambling going on in the guesthouse.” What could be happening in the guesthouse?” she panicked. Brianna dropped her back pack onto the moist garden greens and ran towards the guesthouse.

She flung the door of the guesthouse open, still hanging from the handlebar, to find the little pup surrounded by scatters of newspaper articles and an assortment of books around it, grinning proudly at her with bits of papers in her jaw, ears at attention, her short tail wagging as fast as she could possibly make it. Teela was very pleased with herself. She had managed to open the drawer so quickly and empty it, all by herself!

Brianna’s short lived curiosity turned into rage very quickly. Brianna stormed towards the dog as quickly as her short legs could take her and yelled at Teela as loudly as her small voice would allow her “What have you done to Grandpapa’s things, you useless dog?!!”

Teela’s jaw dropped open, the remainder of the newspaper clippings falling out and slowly backed her way under the couch, whining softly. Teela was confused. Hadn’t Wizard Gomez told her that the secret to unlocking Brianna’s heart would be in the chest of drawers? Had Teela opened the wrong drawer? But how could Teela reach the highest drawer? Crouching under the couch, the pup’s eyes glistened with tears as she tried to muffle her sobs.

An infuriated Brianna looked at the mess about her. All the newspaper clippings Grandpapa kept tidily in a neat stack were strewn all over the guesthouse and so was his book collection. With pursed lips, Brianna sat in the midst of the mess, determined to put all of Grandpapa’s things back in order.

Her small hands fumbled through the books and articles when it chanced upon a photo album, on its cover, a picture of a dignified Grandpapa, dressed in a suit with a pocket watch on his chest, cane in one hand and in the other, a dog on a leash that…that…looked like a big Teela??

Brianna let out a little gasp and turned the pages of the album. As she turned the pages, she glanced furtively at the little pup Corgi under the couch, and then at the photos, back and forth, back and forth, until she reached the last page. On the last page, a huge black and white picture of a young Grandpapa stared back at her, hugging little Teela in his arms. A single silent drop of tear fell from young Brianna’s eyes.

Abandoning the photo album, Brianna crawled on all fours towards Teela, wiped her eyes, joining Teela under the couch. Teela, who had been watching on in bewilderment, felt a sudden surge of joy rush through her body when Brianna squished Teela tightly against herself and whispered gleefully into Teela’s ear “Teela, why didn’t you tell me that Grandpapa sent you to me to be my new best friend?!”

Teela knew now that she had truly gained her new forever human. The two crouched under the sofa, tightly squashed against each other for a long while.

Meanwhile Fairy Angela and Wizard Gomez looked down at them from above, smiling from ear to ear and then did a little happy dance.


Chinese Whispers: An appropriate idiom for the 21st Century?

Having grown up in the 1980s and the 1990s, living in country with a predominantly Chinese population (as a minority) and having immersed myself in the global world of English Literature – plays by Shakespeare, novels by Charles Dickinson, works of contemporary literature writers that were up and upcoming, like Arundhati Roy & Wally Lamb – I was surprised that I had never heard the idiomatic expression “Chinese Whispers”?

What was even more difficult for me to admit was that I had learnt of this idiom from “The Real Housewives of Melbourne”!  There, I said it. I have turned into a reality show junkie and although I understood its meaning from the context of the episode, this tedious and dissatisfied mind of mine wanted to get to the bottom of where this idiomatic expression came from and why the use of the race “Chinese”, although personally, I’m not one.

Where did it originate from? What were the connotations linked to the idiom and most of all, why had I not known about it? Impossible!

After some research, I discovered that this idiomatic phrase alluded to the game “telephone”, a game children play by passing on a message to the next person in queue, without referring to the first message from the first player, or the ‘gamekeeper’ or ‘referee’, if you must. The message is to be passed down to the second player, then to the third and so forth. The last player would have to announce to the rest, the message he had received, which would inevitably be quite different from the original message passed from the ‘gamekeeper’ or the first person in queue.

But why the use of “Chinese whispers” as opposed to “Indian whispers”, ‘British whispers” and so on? You get my drift.

After some researching, I stumbled upon some answers. We can trace its origins back to the era when Europeans colonized Asian countries. One explanation given was that the Chinese were confused or did not have the capacity to comprehend the intricacies of the English language, therefore passing mixed or wrong messages from their European masters to their fellow Chinese workers.

Another explanation was that the Chinese loved gossip and they would deliberately change messages until the last to receive it was simply fooled into believing what had been passed on to him, often getting him into trouble! The connotation of this explanation was that the Chinese were simply not trustworthy.

Surprisingly, at least to me, was that this idiomatic expression is still so common amongst certain groups of people, when most of us believe that ‘racism’ in any form is not acceptable in our quickly expanding, growing global village.

I, for one, would not use this idiom, despite being trained as a linguist and sociologist, especially understanding where such generalizations sprout from. Others however some have told me that they have no problems using this idiom, for after all, it did stem from some history.

Readers, I ponder what your thoughts might be?