Lately, we have been becoming master storytellers to put our son Freedom to sleep or to keep his relatively short attention going. Being so totally engrossed with the series Thomas the Tank Engine, we are also trying to give him a variety of toys to play by as not to stagnate his imagination... and this is the best we can come up with. It's not much but hey, we're trying to be creative parents here!
So ladies and gentlemen, we bring you our collection of bears and stuffed creatures... amassed through the years and brought to life by our futile efforts to entertain the dragon emperor of the house!
Panda Bear is a scholar on Chinese literature and communist idealisms propagated by the late Mao Tse Tung. Brought from China by my wife's former boss Donald, Panda Bear is the serious one among the brood. Here he is trying to compare the Chinese version of Mao's revolutionary little red book into the newly released English version sold for dime-a-dozen in front of Tiananmen Square...
Bear Lao (no pun intended for Beer Lao) is a gift from Freedom's cool designer ninong - Don. Like his donor, Bear Lao is a cam whore (a trait he also got from mommy Kawadjan) and is an avid subscriber of Vogue - Paris. He also loves designing (a true fashion vulture) and is supposed to show his latest collections in Bryant Park for the New York Fashion Week!
Kroma Bear is a true blooded Cambodian bear from the kingdom's most luxurious residence - the Amansara. His other brothers and sisters were adopted by a doting couple named Brad and Angelina and were given to their three children - Maddox, Zahara and Shiloh. They now live in hollywood but they still write to Kroma Bear and remit money back home to support several foundations for the betterment of the lives of Cambodia's cotton weavers.
Best friends BaaBaa Sheep (a gift from my buddy Karl) and Kiwi Bear (another gift from Donald) both hail from New Zealand and are the adventurous backpacker types. One morning, you see them prancing around the grass, and the next morning, they are clambering up the steps to the studio. Although notorious for finding only dirt cheap haunts and restaurants, they know how to differentiate a trying hard Australian Chardonnay from an opulent New Zealand Shiraz.
Polar Bear was a creature rescued from the harsh effects of global warming when the polar ice caps melted somewhere in Alaska. Given as a bday gift from Freedom's tita Wena, he survived the rising waters by clinging on a floating Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag which got dropped from a passing luxury cruise liner one summer. Eats only prime Norwegian Salmon and Japanese Wagyu steaks.
Pinoy Bear on the other hand is a devout Roman Catholic. He has worked one time as an engineer in Saudi Arabia, as a waiter in Dubai, as a cultural performer in Tokyo, as a teacher in Thailand, as a caregiver in London and a manager in a restaurant in New York. These diverse experiences have taught Noypi Bear invaluable lessons in life and so far has given him enough savings to put up his own convent back home. He also drives a jeepney during weekdays.
Greenie Bear is a certified alcoholic and party animal. Always a fixture in the hottest parties, Greenie used to be BFF's with Paris Hilton and the Olsen Twins until her parents, the Vanderbears, moved their steel factories to Cambodia. Greenie has also recently released her own lingerie and perfume line.
Angel Bear is a distant cousin of Pinoy Bear. Also deeply religious, they promote only natural conception and family planning methods for the ethnic minorities of Southeast Asia. Young as she is, Angel Bear is the chapter president of the Catholic Women's League in the upper Cambodian region... Her favorite perfume is tea-rose.
Yellow Bear loves spending time in the bathroom. Came free from a spa product set that mommy purchased from U-Care Pharmacy a few years back. Always mistaken as a scrub by dad, Yellow Bear lives in the presence of water an was formerly a pearl diver on a pearl farm somwhere in Vietnam... a true Pisces in every sense of the word.
Ranger Bear, a certified naturalist from Chattanooga, Canada was a gift from Ninang Sarah, probably on one of her trips from North America. Current president of the World Wildlife Federation, Ranger Bear is lobbying people here to turn him into the official mascot for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver... also a die-hard vegetarian...
Huggie Bear and Nappy Bear were both freebies from packs of diapers. They love to snooze around and simply sleep the day away. This is because of a curse endowed on them by their evil stepmother who thinks they are more absorbent than her.
Brother Bear bears the most beautiful story of all. After Freedom was born, we used to go to the Old Market on weekends to buy our food. While browsing around a sea of tomatoes, fresh prawns and imitation underwear, we found Brother Bear on a pile of second hand toys, with such droopy eyes that seem to scream "Adopt me!". With Brad and Angelina's exploits reaching far and wide, we decided to adopt Brother Bear for a cost price of 2,000 riels (US$0.50)! Brother Bear has since become Freedom's loyal sibling until Thomas and Friends came along...