April Birthdays

December is a month filled with family birthdays and April sees me celebrating the birthdays of some of my very dearest friends in world. I wonder what about April babies from all over the world that draw me to them but they are quite the sweetest bunch ever. From friends I’ve known nearly all my life to ones who came into my life recently, I’m so glad to be a part of their birthday celebrations. Some I got to spend the day with them, others I had to make sure their pressies got to them in time via snail mail.

Till the next April, may all your days be filled with simple happiness and charmed moments that make looking back worth while 🙂


When I have an attack of the PMS, I’ve always found window shopping a great therapy … usually done alone too.  So today, after a particularly heavy PMS day that was made worse by the ticking bomb I had to juggle.  I decided to do some online window shopping and am so very tempted to get a couple of these.  Heck, I want to buy them all.

Courtesy of www.piperlime.com 🙂  Anyone who knows me, knows my penchant for wedges.  So I’m having to seriously hold myself back from clicking ‘order’ right now.  With my sister and I sharing the shoe cabinet right now, there isn’t any room for new shoes … hmmm … maybe the thing is to get rid of old shoes first 🙂

All this is inspiring me to start planning for in my ideal shoe closet for when I find my own home.  Any ideas?

Survivor: Tocantins

I don’t know if it’s by the grace of God or I’m just watching too much TV.  That since my last post, my solution actually came from the current season of Survivor: Tocantins.

It’s no secret, I’m in a slight bind (so slight that I can actually hear the cackle of friends who are in actual ones)  at work, trying to find my ground and figuring out what I should … maybe I should rephrase that to what I can do that will impact the industry I champion in a positive manner.  It isn’t a million dollars but it’s all the difference between jumping out of bed in the morning to go to work or dragging my sorry ass out of bed :p Despite the couple of nights conjuring up schemes to attempt wrangling some semblance of control, enlightenment dawned upon me while watching TV.

My latest reality TV hero, the good ‘ole Southern boy, JT.  The latest episode reminded me that I can choose to stay who I am and play an honest game (strangely it’s mostly to myself) but not be deluded to the fact that I have to make decisions and walk the talk that I spout.

So with renewed vigor (no doubt from mindless TV), I’m going to make some decisions that hopefully defuse the ticking bomb I’m holding in my hands.

Tic. Tic. Tic.

More Catching Up

My favourite thing about going away is coming home. So yes, I’ve been enjoying myself with catching up on what’s been happening while I was away. Better yet when there are little people involved 🙂

It’s amazing how fast they grow. Brother and sister team are now going to school together more articulate than I remember … they made me realise how glad I am to have only be gone for 2 months. I can’t imagine any longer and what else I would have missed in their growing up 🙂 It was good to listen to how Mummy Lim is dealing with her babies going to school, I’d probably be a bigger mess. Daddy Lim as usual is the cool Dad ready to be there for his kids but at the same time ready to let them find themselves. Godmum Char is still overworked … she’s someone who I’d hire in a heartbeat. Hope this Easter her boss wakes up and realise how essential she is. And Uncle Ming, the sweetie entertaining the kids. So in a nutshell, I had a lot of fun sipping tea and chomping on toast. More than that, I enjoy when preschoolers take hold of my camera and let us into the world they see.

Here’s little Renn’s view of the world.

And it looks like little Renn has photography in his genes. Daddy Lim took a lot of photos that day too and here’s my favourite from the day.

The Chengs had to give tea time a miss coz little Kait was hit with a bug … I seem be nursing one myself right now.  So I can’t wait for the Popiah Party this Easter weekend where my little friends will all be one place again 🙂  Can’t wait for more catch ups.

Catching Up

It’s only been 3 weeks since I came home from India. Strangely it feels like much much longer. I came from the serene India and was thrown the deep end of fast paced Singapore. Work was like I never even left at all. With the restructuring, it’s normal to feel out of sorts a little but I’m starting to feel really lost … like I’m not sure where everything is going. So thank goodness there is so much more to life than work 🙂

2009 sure is a year of change. For me and so many around me. Well, I thought 2009 will see me, HM, Resh, Zack and Mich back in the same country. Since HM was heading back home from Jakarta but but but in the 2 months that I was away, Mich made plans and is now in Perth, Australia 🙂 How cool is that? So I have an extra visit to do when I head back to Perth for my cousin’s wedding in November.

All 5 of us managed to get together when Mich did a whirl wind visit back a couple of weeks ago. So if anyone is looking for a quiet place to hang out, try the pool side cafe at Pan Pac … though the food there was … … Just that … … but we managed to get a good picture of ourselves.

With friends, it’s always the company that makes the difference. It doesn’t matter where we are as long as it’s done with the right crowd.  Mich, we’ll miss you. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep you updated on the nonsense we’re up to on this blog.

India Retrospective: Part 7 – Rural India

Rural India is truly incredible India.  Once I left the city area, the rural area of India is no different from rural Europe, North America or even Australia.  It didn’t feel like I was in a country with over a billion people and where quite surprisingly, I felt incredibly comfortable.

Sure, electricity has a mind of it’s own … ok, the electrical company is the one at fault for this and I can’t run to a store to get something but there’s something about the simplicity in rural India that was quietly refreshing.  The lack of an insane rush to acquire a designer chair or matching cushion covers made me take a step back in my own rush to acquire in life.  Don’t get me wrong, once I get my own place, I’m pretty sure I want it to reflect who my husband and I are.  Post India though, I’m reminded about what makes a home, sharing a space with love and laughter and a place you want to go to at the end of the day … even if I didn’t have the quirky cushion covers or that floor to ceiling bookshelf I want, I can choose to keep it all simple and still have a happy home.

That said though, I don’t understand Hindi and was only in India for 2 months so I can’t say I truly know how the average Indian in rural India lives, thinks, wants or desires.  Maybe God meant that keep-it-simple takeaway just for me … and that’s what I think my true lesson from India is – there’s much more in this universe that I don’t even know about, let alone understand.  Mine isn’t to fight relentlessly but to keep learning.  In India, a prayer that is core to my family rang even more true and now, post India, I can say I’m slowly beginning to appreciate the essence of it so much more.

Lord grant me
the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
the STRENGTH to change the thing I can and
the WISDOM to know the difference.


Finally managed to catch Departures 🙂  A bitter sweet Japanese film that managed to catch the hearts of the voters for the Academy Awards.  I can see why too.

What would a cellist do when he has no orchestra to play in?  In Japan, you go back to your hometown, learn to become an embalmer and hopefully learn to forgive.  Nothing as irreverent as Six Feet Under, it has all the subtle nuances that only Japanese storytelling can do without being contrive.  That said, it was typical of most Japanese tales so it was predictable.  Nonetheless, I’m completely enamoured with the Japanese last rites of preparing the body.

The film took what could possibly be the most depressing ritual in Japanese culture and made it one of the most beautiful ceremony I’ve ever encountered.  According to the film, the embalmers prepare the body in front of the family and it is done with such love, respect and sweetness that J and I wished such a service was available in Singapore so we could request for it when we depart too.  On a deeper level, the film explored the issue of death and life in somewhat typical manners.  The standard don’t- take-things-for-granted-while-you-have-them takeaways are there, as well as the proverbial lesson of never judging the book by its cover.  Like I said though, it wasn’t too contrive and worked with the humourous moments without which may have been a tad difficult to watch.  So all in all, good vote from the Academy and if you don’t manage to catch it on the big screens, just make sure you get the DVD when it’s out.

India Restropective: Part 6 – Development

By now, most of my friends have heard how the ride from Chandigarh to Nawan Nagar was probably the worst car ride I’ve ever been in. Seriously to take nearly two hours to clear about 38km is quite painful and when the roads are as bumpy as the ones in India, it is that much more difficult. Strangely though, by the time I left and was on my last ride out of Nawan Nagar to the Chandigarh airport, I was actually use to it and was even able to enjoy the sights and sounds for the last time 🙂 That said though, if I ever lived there, it would be my life mission to fix that road.

It’s suffice to say, road infrastructure is pretty dismal in India and so it’s understandable when truck drivers, who use the roads all the time, dress their trucks up. What do I mean? They actually paint designs on it, hang ornaments, the whole works that each truck is like a mobile art piece.

They are all decked out like that. There are no regular looking trucks like the ones we have, which at least gave me something interesting to look at from the car. And observing life in India from the car was what I did during the few times I ventured into Chandigarh city. On the way, we would pass a town call Pinjore. It was strange little town to me.

Much like the other things in India, this little town made me feel like I stepped into a time machine and was brought back in time. It showed me the transition as a town develops. How the old has to give way to the new and in between is kinda messy but we all deal. The road was in the process of being widened and strangely as they did it, they simply took down portions of buildings.

Can you see the building that torn down half way in the picture? Well, there were quite a few that were in such a state … and the amazing thing was that people still used them as shops or offices!! I just didn’t get it. Well, only in India, I suppose. The Indians amazed me on several levels. As I was in the car watching life in India pass me by, I wondered how parents could let their children run freely along a road ploughed by trucks going about 60km/hour, how they could wait by the side of the road for the buses when the air is completely filled with dust kicked up by the ongoing traffic, how the women dressed in traditional salwa kameez and saris could do heavy construction work. Life in India sure is different from anything I’m use to. While I could relate at some level, there was a distance that I simply couldn’t close. Then again there are some things people in Singapore do that I can’t understand either :p

India Restropective: Part 5 – Farming

India inspired me at various levels and one was to hopefully have my own little garden some day. Farming is really quite gratifying. There is something to be said about giving to the land and have it give back to you. Like most other Singaporeans my age, we grew up with stories about our grandparents living through the war by eating tapioca they grew in their gardens. We, on the other hand, know dilly do about how to harvest food from the land, let alone preparing the land to start farming.

So you can imagine my astonishment when I saw broccoli. sweet peas, cabbage and califlower (Jules, they reminded me of you everyday!!) growing out of the ground. I was even lucky to see them in their various stages of growth. Broccolis start small and grow. Here’s how tiny they can be:-

That’s my husband’s hand next to the baby broccoli. So cute, right? I also learned how when onions and garlic are ready to be harvested the plant on the top starts to die. Nature is pretty cool that way. My favourite thing about growing your own vegetables is COMPOSTING.

That’s when I realise how much of our garbage we throw out daily can be reused. In India, we clear the food waste twice a day in compost but the other kinds of garbage only needed to be cleared every two or three days. Now that I’m home, it hits me even more as I throw parts of veggies that we don’t eat and leftovers, they really take up most of our garbage. I reckon we might solve our garbage problems if we have composting facilities in Singapore. Part of me thinks our humidity may not help our composting situation but if I ever have a little garden, I’ll learn more about composting in Singapore.

Also, do you know you can grow certain flowers next to certain vegetables to encourage certain bugs that will eat the bugs that will eat the veggies. Talk about natural farming 🙂 The flowers make the farm look pretty too.