World Vegan Day

I became vegetarian in 2002, in August to be specific so that’s about 15 years! In 2001, if someone told me I would be vegetarian, I would laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha. I wasn’t sure I could ever give up Char Siew, that’s my bacon. An Asian barbecued pork marinated with a sweet sauce. And that’s because I never associated my char siew with Babe. I knew where it came from but rarely made the clear and distinct association.

I started learning a form of mediation that encouraged a vegetarian lifestyle. I thought, “What the heck! Give it all you’ve got for 6months, resist temptation no matter how hard it gets and at the end of 6 months, if it’s too difficult, have a big plate of char siew for your birthday and recognise it as a phase in my 20s.”

It turned out to be easier than I thought, way easier and for the last year, I’ve started cutting out dairy too. In the beginning and with all my research, I was motivated by ethical reasons and the associations between char siew and Babe becoming very clear. But after a while, I found my diet having very distinct improvements to my health. And this is probably why my family who started out being resistant to my new lifestyle became more supportive.

As years became a decade, I started learning to eat better … because you can be a very unhealthy vegetarian. What kinds of fruits and vegetables provide which kinds of vitamins and minerals, white rice versus brown rice, sugar is like a drug, how to supplement B12, yada yadda yadda. All in a sort of ad hoc, internet researching, talking to naturopaths kind of way, which can be REALLY confusing, bringing me to earlier this year when I decided to investigate a more whole food plant base approach.

My aim is to learn what constitutes a nutrient dense plant base diet and how to get it optimal for me. So this World Vegan Day, I’m starting a new Instagram account – Eat to Love, Love to Eat as a record of this journey. Mostly to keep my motivated when I get lazy … which is more often than I like :p and hopefully connect with some like-minded souls along the way.

Happy World Vegan Day!

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Wonder Woman

I remember I was about 7 or so and in the hospital for the umpteen time, my parents bought me a DC World encyclopaedia which started my affection for Wonder Woman. I loved it and over my childhood years, I read and re-read it from cover to cover. Probably explains why I’m more a Justice League fan than X-Men or the Avengers. The TV series in the 70s and 80s, cemented my admiration for her so needless to say I may be a little bias but most of the reviews have been positive so I’m not alone here.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Patty Jenkins and Allan Heinberg made sure there were enough old school references as well as modern reboot elements to keep it nostalgic for the fans who grew up with the character and interesting for those encountering her for the first time in the 21st century. And well, Gal Godot … what can I say? She was made for the role and I reckon everything happens for a reason and why it took this long for a Wonder Woman movie. I’m so glad it wasn’t Angelina Jolie, Mischa Barton or Megan Fox or the rest of the famous actresses that were considered for the role. Also, love love love the fact that Gadot was part of the Israeli Arm Forces. Makes her legit, you know what I mean?

Casting? Check.

The origin story where we get to see little Wonder Woman for the first time ever was a treat for me. And as a story, it worked. A coming of age journey of a demigod, in a time where hope is needed.

Story? Check.

If I had to pick on anything, it would be the visual effects, not sure if it’s because I’m in the business and I was expecting more but the effects didn’t work for me. Each time there was an effects shot, it bothered me. It didn’t seem to bother my cousin who isn’t into superhero movies or CG heavy ones though. She enjoyed it and wasn’t expecting to.

So no spoilers here but if you like Wonder Woman a lot (like me) or barely but love the idea of a feminine superhero (like my cousin), this is the summer blockbuster for you.

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One more thing, Wonder Woman may have been the reason why I have an obsession with ice cream too.

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It’s an Aluminium Anniversary

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Yep, the big 10 … ok, in the larger scheme of things 10 isn’t much, particularly compared to my parents’ 43 and they haven’t killed each other yet :p It’s true! Marriage is tough. My husband really doesn’t like it when I say that because it makes it sound like our marriage is especially difficult. Let me be honest here, I don’t think we’re special and our marriage isn’t especially difficult, just like my parents’ isn’t either. I think it’s a same everywhere – making a marriage work takes a lot of effort. It isn’t easy and very rarely it is.

It can be for some people and when they are, I do want to pick their brains and hearts and find out how they do it. For the rest of us mere mortals, it does take work but doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Not at all, in fact, IMHO, it’s a positive thing that I’m working at it at least it shows I’m still interested, engaged and committed. My husband should really worry when I want to stop working at it 😉

That said, marriage like any relationship, even the seemingly simple ones take some level of effort. It should too because when it’s worth it, you want to work at it. Just don’t lose yourself. that’s the part that gets the best and the worst of us. On the flip side, don’t take the other half of the relationship for granted. Again it’s happened to all of us. So that’s me in the last 10 years of my marriage, sliding from one end of the spectrum to the other while trying to keep balance. It makes it worth while (even though some times it doesn’t feel like it particularly when my hormones go on a rampage) because my husband is riding the spectrum too! That’s my marriage in a nutshell, two individuals trying to keep a teeter-totter (that’s Canadian for a see saw) in balance 🙂

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P/S: That pretty much sums up all the dances that I do with my Mummy, Daddy, baby sister, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, cousins, aunts, uncles, best-est of friends … yah, every relationship in my life. Except maybe God who I know definitely takes the brunt of the weight!

What Kind of Mother Would I Have Been?

Growing up I always thought I’d have kids, at least two of them and if wishes came true, five or more! LOL I always did want loads of children but as life would have it, it doesn’t usually go according to plan and my maternal role is played out with my nephews, nieces, god kids and little friends.

Mothers. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some women are a natural at it and make mothering look so easy. Yet there are some who abandoned their roles and leave vacuums to be filled by others who take up the challenge. In my lifetime, I’ve been blessed to have the former but I’ve also seen how the latter leaves permanent impact for better or worse. It’s not something I can understand, not having a mother be there for me and yet, I’ve had some friends tell me that they rather not have a mother at all than their abusive selfish mothers.

Like everything else in life, there isn’t a perfect mother and if I had a chance of being one, I would like to think I learnt from my own Mother, my Mama (paternal grandma) and my Popo (maternal grandma) and simply just love my children with all my heart. Sure, it isn’t quite as simple as that, children can drive you crazy. From my own childhood and now watching my little ones grow up, children can really test you! I hope I would have had the patience to listen, to support and to encourage.

I also hope I won’t forget to be a good wife because I think most mothers do, even fathers forget how to be good husbands. Children can take over our lives. I hope I would have remembered that it’s about being a family and not just a mother.

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I may never have any kids on my own but I definitely have kids whom I mother with all my heart; where the definition of family is much larger and Mother’s Day is just as special.

It took a couple of years but I’ve learnt sometimes life doesn’t turn out like you planned but that’s because your plan wasn’t right to begin with 🙂

Shoes and Feet

Earlier this week, I left the house early for a 10am meeting. Feeling pretty chuffed that I was going to have time to settle down at my desk, make my favourite tea and get in the right frame of mind for my pitch meeting. Then I turn onto the major road about a minute from my home and BAM I was in a massive jam. Usually it can get a little crazy because of the transit construction that’s going in and around where I live but this was unusually slow … as in N.O.T.  M.O.V.I.N.G.  A.T.  A.L.L. It rarely gets that bad in Singapore but sometime it does.

I started complaining, mostly to myself since there wasn’t anyone else in the car with me. Complaining about the rain that always slows things down, about the construction which changes the roads over night and drivers not being fully awake for the first day of the work week … complain, complain and complain. The stretch of road which normally takes me 5mins to cover and say maybe 8mins with traffic light stops took me an hour that morning!! From being early for my meeting to being late! I was getting very impatient. Then I had front row seats to why traffic was so horrid that morning.

It wasn’t the rain, it wasn’t the construction and it wasn’t sleepy drivers. It was a very bad accident that cost someone’s life. I was stopped at the traffic light junction right in front of the accident scene. Like God heard me complain loud and clear (like a brat) and knew I needed a reminder (hard knock in the head). The scene hit me hard. The raining was pouring, police men standing in the rain controlling traffic, one was standing by the blue tent covering the accident victim and vehicles (buses, construction trucks, delivery lorries, motorcycles and cars) from three lanes had to be slowly squeezed into one lane. There I sat, in my car at the red lights with nowhere else to go or to look and I heard my favourite Persian proverb, “I cried that I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”

I woke up that morning not thinking twice about the day ahead of me and complained non-stop about how I just wasted an hour in the car when somewhere out there a family’s life is completely overturned and it will never be the same again.

I cried that I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that family and pray that they find strength in each other as they go through this difficult time. You’d think being in your 40s would give you some humility and maturity not to sweat the small stuff, I obviously still have a lot to learn.

This week (like every other week … wasn’t it suppose to get easier when you get older?), I’ll try harder to be kinder, to be grateful and less judgemental because you never know what someone else is going through.

What has May Day got to do with Trust?

I never really understood what May Day or Labour Day was all about. Some say it’s about  the arrival of spring. In Singapore, I’ve learnt it’s more attuned to International Workers’ Day where it’s for the celebration of the working class, which I most definitely fall into – being an adult and finding the way to be independently sustainable. So I take heart and am grateful for a break, from the grind that keeps me busy on a 9-5 daily basis.

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In the last year, I’ve learnt a critical life lesson about the grind that keeps me busy. I’m not sure how long more I have of my working life but my plan is honestly to keep working till I drop dead, mostly because I do like the grind I get to be a part of. However, the critical lesson is this – I know now I want and have to work with good people of the same values but vastly different perspectives whom I can implicitly trust. Trust. It’s the thing that no money can buy. It comes from sharing experiences … maybe even having betrayed that trust and building it up again. How ever you come by it, particularly in a person who has the same kind of values but sees the world from the other end of the room, I say hold on to that person. That’s what I’ve learnt will make a good team.

In the last, almost 2 decades of my working life, I have been fortunate to have had worked with a couple of people like that. I’m hoping that one day I can bring my A Team together. What will we do? I kinda have some idea but with my A Team I believe we can do pretty much everything.

Is it possible to trust someone who is inherently different from you? Yes, I believe so. The key is to be focused on what you have that is in common. In my experience, it’s kindness, compassion, believing in delivering the best product or service for the target audience and doing the hard work to get there. It’s not easy to find at all but that’s what I’m focused on looking for and putting together now. In the meantime, in honour of May Day I’ll be taking the break, kicking back and chilling with some Netflix.

Earth Day

I wonder if anyone pays attention to Earth Day anymore or if they ever did. I remember when recycling was the thing to do and now everyone talks about upcycling. For me, it’s all about trying to simplify. It wasn’t always like that. I’m as much a consumer as anyone else and I’m not sure when but one day I did realise there are a lot of things I have that I don’t really need. Just a lot of things I want. Then came the harsh realisation that if I didn’t buy all the things I wanted … I could probably have had a down payment for my dream car.

It was about 5 years or so ago when I was walking around Beijing with my then boss and asked him if he wanted to buy his wife something. He began to tell me how he and his wife have come to an agreement that they only bought things they needed and if they came home with a purchase of something they already had, they had to get rid of the old item that needed to be replaced by the new purchase. Like a light bulb that went off in my head, I thought to myself I like that and I’ll try it out.

Fast forward to 2017 and I’ve mostly stuck to that rule. Couple of things I’ve learnt:-

  1. I never ever have to buy bags. My family and friends always seem to get me bags and I never run out of them.
  2. White pieces of clothes are the ones I replace the most. Maybe I should invest in a bib. Everything else seem to last. Again family and friends have me covered on that front too.
  3. I don’t ever buy pyjamas anymore because I just recycle/upcycle older clothes to chic sleepwear 🙂
  4. I spend a lot of money on FOOD. Being vegetarian is not the most cost efficient. Add organic and that’s the bulk of my budget.
  5. I like spending money on people I love. I don’t consume much for myself anymore but I do like buying things or experiences (especially when it’s shared with me) for my family and friends.

So I haven’t quite saved enough for my dream car but I’ve figured out that I don’t really need it anyway. On this Earth Day like every other one, I smile a little, give thanks that I’m blessed with amazing people in my life. We’re not perfect but we’re there for each other. I couldn’t ask for more and this week, my theme is more of the same – remind the people I love that I love them!