There’s a restaurant chain in Canada by that name but today’s post is about my favourite – babies!!!  The milestones in the development of a baby is what makes every day slightly different from yesterday.  In the first 2 years, it’s amazing how fast they grow and develop.  Each stage brings the biggest applause and smiles in the adults around them.  So when I received this video, I couldn’t help but watch over and over again.

Well done, Lulu!!  * applause*  Can’t wait for the one where you roll over and back 🙂

Another friend who has a baby just one month older than Lucy apologised the other day for being a fervent supporter of her baby.  I say, ” Hell, don’t apologise and never apologise for being a proud parent.”

I’m no super extraordinary genius but my whole life growing up, my ardent supporters were my parents.  They helped me believe that I can achieve anything I want, my smallest achievements were just that – achievements.  So there were none to small that would make them pat me on the back and smile with pride.

Of course though, they balanced it with reality.  They knew they couldn’t let it go to my head, which happened more than once or twice.  That’s the tough bit about parenting achieving that balance.  Sure, if we could we’ll keep our children happy ALL the time and protect them from pain and suffering but the truth is life is a combination of both.  Without pain and suffering how can you be grateful for your joys and achievements, which is what parents have to tenderly impart to their children.  Sometimes it can’t be done tenderly and you have to literally pull the chair from which your child is tooting her/his own horn on.  It’s been done to me once or twice and when my parents didn’t have the heart to do it quite so vigorously, God did (quite vigorously, I might add too >_< ) and they like any loving parent, were there to help me up, encourage me along and be my strongest cheerleaders.

So back to milestones, as each child reaches theirs so do parents as they try to navigate the world and protect their growing children.  It never stops and I’m so grateful that my parents still watch over my developments and cheer at my milestones.  At 37, when I learn from my mistakes and try to keep living life to the fullest, it’s like flipping over as a 4month old.  While it isn’t something my parents can record with their iPhone, they like Lulu’s loving parents to her, are my fervent supporters and why I reckon I can overcome anything that life throws at me 🙂

Such are the similarities I share with my dear 4 over month old friend, Miss Lucy Su 🙂  So it looks like life is going to be sweet for you too 😉

Cooling Off Day

While the candidates can’t say anything today, I can ponder all I want about the first time I get to vote for my president.  I wish the candidates made it easier for me to pick.  Some might disagree and say it’s very obvious who to vote for but the President doesn’t lead the government and his role as our constitution has it, is quite different.

In my opinion, he needs a true heart, the fortitude of a good mind and iron clad balls to stand up when he needs too.  In my even humbler opinion, none of them has all three.  Most have two and truth be told, I don’t know enough about them as individuals.  In the last 9 days, I’m sad to say none of them was able to convince me that they had all three of what I want my president to have.  It’s not easy task to campaign in 9 days and show what usually takes a lifetime to reveal.  Our late President Ong Teng Cheong showed it during his term; while there was an inkling before, I could not have known for sure.  If he had to campaign I could only guess as I am now, sussing these candidates out.

I’m not one to judge but in this instance, I have to.  I have to look at all 4 candidates squarely and make a judgement on who comes closest to these three attributes that I want in my president.  So the first time I vote for my president, it’ll be like going to the casino, which I’ve never really done anyway.  I’m going to take a bet and that’s the best I can do.

Unlike the General Elections, where I knew the kind of government I wanted for my children and grandchildren and how we can slowly take a step in that direction.  The role of the president is largely an untested one.  He isn’t the one that sets the vision or the one that develops the policies.  He is the the check in the balance.

I wish there was a she but since there isn’t, he has to have a true heart that is not self serving, the fortitude of a good mind to cut through bullshit when it’s being thrown around and iron clad balls that is not to be confused with bravado, which is so easy to bring on when one is angry, scared or confused.  Sigh … iron clad balls … strangely, I know more women who have them 😉

Oh well, like I said since there isn’t a she, I’ll have to go to the closest he who does.  You can be sure, I’m trawling through all the information I can get my hands on today and hopefully, one will reveal himself.

Like the General Elections though, make your vote count.

I Couldn’t Be Luckier

My Mummy would say that I’ve been blessed 🙂  A good friend forwarded this link to me, a father’s message from the grave.  I’m so very fortunate because unlike his children who will have to learn this on their own, I’ve had my parents to constantly remind me these very same life lessons he shared with his children as they grow up without him being physically with them:-

  1. Be courteous, be punctual, always say please and thank you, and be sure to hold your knife and fork properly. Others take their cue on how to treat you from your manners.
  2. Be kind, considerate and compassionate when others are in trouble, even if you have problems of your own. Others will admire your selflessness and will help you in due course.
  3. Show moral courage. Do what is right, even if that makes you unpopular. I always thought it important to be able to look at myself in the shaving mirror every morning and not feel guilt or remorse. I depart this world with a pretty clear conscience.
  4. Show humility. Stand your ground but pause to reflect on what the other side are saying, and back off when you know you are wrong. Never worry about losing face. That only happens when you are pig-headed.
    Learn from your mistakes. You will make plenty so use them as a learning tool. If you keep making the same mistake or run into a problem, you’re doing something wrong.
  5. Avoid disparaging someone to a third party; it is only you who will look bad. If you have a problem with someone, tell them face to face.
  6. Hold fire! If someone crosses you, don’t react immediately. Once you say something it can never be taken back, and most people deserve a second chance.
  7. Have fun. If this involves taking risks, so be it. If you get caught, hold your hands up.
  8. Give to charity and help those who are less fortunate than yourselves: it’s easy and so rewarding.
  9. Always look on the upside! The glass is half full, never half empty. Every adversity has a silver lining if you seek it out.
  10. Make it your instinct always to say ‘yes’. Look for reasons to do something, not reasons to say no. Your friends will cherish you for that.
  11. Be canny: you will get more of what you want if you can give someone more of what they desire. Compromise can be king.
  12. Always accept a party invitation. You may not want to go, but they want you there. Show them courtesy and respect.
  13. Never ever let a friend down. I would bury bodies for my friends, if they asked me to . . . which is why I have chosen them carefully.
  14. Always tip for good service. It shows respect. But never reward poor service. Poor service is insulting.
  15. Always treat those you meet as your social equal, whether they are above or below your station in life. For those above you, show due deference, but don’t be a sycophant.
  16. Always respect age, as age equals wisdom.
  17. Be prepared to put the interests of your sibling first.
  18. Be proud of who you are and where you come from, but open your mind to other cultures and languages. When you begin to travel (as I hope you will), you’ll learn that your place in the world is both vital and insignificant. Don’t get too big for your breeches.
  19. Be ambitious, but not nakedly so. Be prepared to back your assertions with craftsmanship and hard work.
  20. Live every day to its full: do something that makes you smile or laugh, and avoid procrastination.
  21. Give of your best at school. Some teachers forget that pupils need incentives. So if your teacher doesn’t give you one, devise your own.
  22. Always pay the most you can afford. Never skimp on hotels, clothing, shoes, make-up or jewellery. But always look for a deal. You get what you pay for.
  23. Never give up! My two little soldiers have no dad, but you are brave, big-hearted, fit and strong. You are also loved by an immensely kind and supportive team of family and friends. You make your own good fortune, my children, so battle on.
  24. Never feel sorry for yourself, or at least don’t do it for long. Crying doesn’t make things better.
  25. Look after your body and it will look after you.
  26. Learn a language, or at least try. Never engage a person abroad in conversation without first greeting them in their own language; by all means ask if they speak English!
  27. And finally, cherish your mother, and take very good care of her.
Like most of my other posts, this will serve as a reminder for me to be the sort of person I hope I am, if not, to become some day.  I hope when my time comes, I’ll be able to come to terms with my mistakes, learnt from them, grown and be able to leave this world with a clear conscience too.  Till then, I’ll just keep on learning.

Post Curry Day

Only in Singapore would a National Curry Day happen and in many ways I’m very grateful for it.  I’m gone for only 3 weeks and come home to the fervor that is curry.  Like any true Singaporean, I love my curries.  Indian, Chinese, Malay, Eurasian … heck, any curry, I’ve yet to not like a curry, bring it all on Thai, Japanese, African.  I’d probably enjoy them all.  So when I heard that a fellow Singaporean had to cook curry only in moments when their neighbour was not home, I thought it strange and was somewhat bewildered.  I’m glad so did many Singaporeans.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know the whole story and they are both probably very lovely families.  That simply renders my opinion here bias and I’ll be willing to be proven wrong.

Till then, here’s my thoughts on the matter.  I’ve been very fortunate and have lived in different places and experienced many different things.  There was one thing that struck me about immigrants, how they cling to their own way and not adapt to the new ways of their new home.  It happens every where in the world where immigrants stick together, eat their own food, hang out together, complain about their fellow native citizens and don’t try to truly interact with the people they share their new homeland with.  It’s strange to me because why move there in the first place.

For some reason, I have a feeling that last statement will come bite me in the ass when I move away some day :p

All I know for today is that I’m glad that I’m inclined to stinky food … yes, durian, blue cheese, smelly tofu (which my husband likens to dog poop), exotic spices, if it has a powerful pong chances are I’d go for it :p  So I won’t have problems with a neighbour in that respect.  My poor neighbours though, all past, present and future, I eat and  often crave for these stinky food types.  Bring on the pong!!

Again another statement I may regret some day.

Meanwhile, life lesson here for me, there’s going to be crazies everywhere and by that I mean people who don’t agree with me … yes, that’s a lot of people, I know, life would be simpler if everyone just agreed with me!!  Did I hear someone call me a narcissistic egomaniacal twit?  There are days my husband would agree with you.   So let’s start with my husband 🙂  I can’t change my neighbours or change to suit them but I can try with my own home and me – complain less and keep an open mind.

Happy Second Birthday, Rachael Dear!!!

Doesn’t time just fly by?  I can’t quite believe my baby goddaughter, Rachael is two and a toddler!!  The thing I’m super bummed about this summer trip to Vancouver is missing her birthday, which is today.  I’m so taking her out to celebrate once I’m home!!  A Strawberry Shortcake themed celebration too!!  I have to say, she’s a Sesame Street/Strawberry Shortcake type of toddler.  Not too girly, not too boy, just about right 🙂  She’s going to be alright!!  Yes, I’m the bias Godma :p  Seems like it was yesterday when she was still mumbling and didn’t have much hair :p

At two, she’s surely developing her own strong personality and in true Tan fashion, she’s a fiery one who may even give her sister a run for her money 🙂  If you know the girls in my family, you’ll know what I mean 🙂  We’re mostly warm and friendly till you rub us the wrong way :p  Hopefully, both my nieces will learn from all their Tan aunties and balance it out more.

So to my dear dear Rachael, I hope your day (which has already ended in Singapore but is just beginning is Vancouver) is filled with love and happiness.

In honour of your 2nd special day, I’m celebrating it with vegan cupcakes.  They not only look good but taste really yummy too!!  Just wish you were here too so I could give you a MWACKS and a big hug.  Missing you much!!!

Cloudpic at SIGGRAPH

We aren’t a huge team and are located across 2 continents, 3 countries and 6 cities.  It isn’t surprising since we are a company about collaborating across different locations, we like to walk our talk but we’re all social beings and getting together once in a while is something even the most introverted of us like from time to time.  So this recent weekend was the first time the Cloudpic crew was all in the same location 🙂

After spending a whole day in meetings, getting on to the same page, catching up on development, schedules, to dos and what’s next.  We had dinner at Top of Vancouver, a revolving restaurant that gives you a really good view of the city.  It was the right spot to get everyone comfortable and get to know each other better.  I have to say, when it comes to colleagues, I’m one really blessed chickie 🙂  I’ve always had a good group of people to work with.  There’s no exception at Cloudpic, made up of Americans and Canadians of different ethnic groups, they are a bunch of very intelligent and collaborative people.  The pressure is on for sure.  Working for people who are highly intelligent challenges what I know and what I can.  It’s going to be a busy couple of months till the end of this year 🙂

Then it was 5 days of conferences and more meetings over lunch and dinner too.  SIGGRAPH was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is such an idyllic spot for a MICE facility.  It overlooks the water and mountains so the view is quite relaxing.  In between, conferences and meetings, I’d take a step out feel the sun on my skin and take a breath of fresh air 🙂

My first SIGGRAPH was kinda what I thought it would be, there were moments when it got a little technical for me and there were the moments when I was in the room with the true genius talents that make the fantastical vision of great directors seemingly real.  I kept my fangirl moments in check and played it cool.  What I learnt though is this, technology may be kick ass and animation can be really good with stunning visual effects but if you don’t have a story, you won’t probably won’t be much more than a fad.  Even the geeks know this.  So how come studio heads don’t?  That’s one for a whole other post.

Anyway, it was a great first SIGGRAPH.  One with more opportunities to follow up on.  I like what Thomas Edison said about opportunities:-

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Like I said it’s going to be a busy couple of months.

Summer in Vancouver

It is the best time to visit this very beautiful city.  Growing up, I never thought I’d call any other place home but as luck would have it, I get to call two other really beautiful cities besides Singapore home.  One is Perth, Australia – land of the most amazing beaches and the other is Vancouver, Canada – land of the glorious mountains.  I really love how you can be driving anywhere in the city and the view of the mountains is not so faraway.

The last time I was in Canada for summer was in 2003.  Time sure flies right by you.  That’s a whole 8 years ago, I can’t believe it flew by that quick.  Usually I’m back for Christmas and it’s all wintery, which is different and nice but summer … oh summer 🙂  I’m truly a summer type girl who loves her sunshine.  Thanks to work for a change, I’m finding my way back to Vancouver when it’s the best time of the year.  Yep, I’ve read about SIGGRAPH but never thought I’d actually be going.  Usually I’m on the content production side of things and this is a highly technical trade show.  Now that I work for a tech software company, I get to go for it and rub shoulders with the cool talented people who bring some of my favourite animation to life.  Yes, I am excited :p  Unlike the content trade shows where it’s mostly bloodthirsty sales people, come Sunday, I get to say I was in the same room as the people responsible for lighting Cars or Kung Fu Panda or rigging Remy from Ratatouille.  I feel fan girl moments bursting out of me.

My plane landed at 8pm and the sun was still up.

Just the way I like it 🙂  It was a stop at my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver before heading home.  So far the last couple of days have been beautiful and we’ve been out and about.  By that, I mean taking walks and hiking, stuff we wouldn’t normally do in Singapore.  Well, I would but my husband has a slight aversion to the humidity :p So while the weather is great and work hasn’t actually started for me, we’re just soaking it all up.

You have to agree with sights like these who can stay indoors on a beautiful summer day 🙂

If I had my way, I’d live in Vancouver from June to August, in Perth from September to November, in Singapore from December to Feburary and back in Perth from March to May.  I should really be that lucky to be able to do that 🙂  Well, I’ve asked for crazier things, one can never know 🙂  Keeping my fingers cross.  Till then, it’ll just be updates from my summer 2 weeks in Vancouver.

And In Between it was Taipei

It’s so long Shanghai and hello Vancouver.  I’m in the Taipei airport waiting for my flight to Vancouver.

Shanghai was again another learning experience.  Each time I go to China, I’m exposed to more than what I knew before and sometimes it makes me discover more about myself than the city I’m in.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get my head around the country, the people and their way of life.  So far it still intrigues me and I’m curious to see how we can engage the Chinese more.  I’m looking forward to a post one year from now and keeping my fingers cross that the bets we’re placing will all pay off.

Meanwhile, I’m excited about Vancouver 🙂  It’s a little work and a little fun too!!  It’s been a while since I was back in Vancouver for summer.  2003 to be specific.  So after the many winters, I’m so so so looking forward to a Vancouver summer, which is the BEST time to be there.  Can’t wait to update from there and share the beautiful pictures.

One more thing, I’m going to a new trade show too!!  SIGGRAPH. It’s going to be a tad too tech for me but what the heck, my inner geek is raring to find out how much of a real geek I am.  My day self though isn’t delusional, yes, I do like gadgets and  I know I can put a play, a film, a story together from scratch but to build a computer … I can watch someone do it 🙂  That said, I am inspired by a Transformer sculpture to start hunting from scrap metal 😉

Till Vancouver, have a beautiful week ahead.