No Smoking in Singapore

That’s probably one of the things I take for granted in Singapore – no smoking.  Every time I go away, I get reminded.  Smoke doesn’t just affect me just coz it doesn’t smell nice.  At best, it gets in my throat and lungs and physically makes me uncomfortable like I can’t breath.  At worst, when my immune system is weak, it actually makes me can’t breath and have an asthma attack!!  Despite the fact that some of the people I love to bits smoke, I’m really not use to it.

So I’m not a happy camper in KL because they smoke indoors.  YES, indoors.  You read me right, they smoke I.N.D.O.O.R.S. here.  Even the French are starting to figure this out and smoke outdoors but here in KL, I can smell smoke in buildings.  I have to say, it drives me slightly crazy and impatient.  Needless to say, most smokers find me rude :p  It is hard to be chippy when I’m nursing a headache and a scratchy throat, like I am right now from being in smoke filled buildings all day.

I’m not saying you can’t smoke but can you please just smoke outside?  It isn’t just a pet peeve, it makes me physically sick.  I’m happy to share space with you if you can share fresh air with me.  Thank you.

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KL in the Dragon Year

We’re officially in the year of the Water Dragon and my first work trip is to KL.  It’s not a great week to be away from the office, lots of things happening but we do what we got to do 🙂  Apparently, this year is not good for my health.  I have to take care of it, eat properly and rest well.  That means I have to take more effort with these work trips.  So that means stocking up on water and making sure I eat right … both things I rarely do when I travel for work … glup O_0

That’s the cue for me to go get some water and get into bed early.  Till then, here’s my little Ox Goddaughter reminding me what’s important.  She’s growing so fast and talking so much now.  Miss her and can’t wait to see her next week when I’m back home.  Thank goodness for little people 🙂

Back from Taipei

Taipei is definitely on my list of top 10 favourite cities to live in.  In no particular order, Singapore, Perth, Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago, Munich, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei.

It’s been a while since I was last in Taipei.  After this trip I’m happy to say, it stays on the list, despite the fact that I didn’t have much time outside of work.  Actually precisely because of that, I know I can live in this city.  It’s easy to get around.  I speak the language.  English is not too foreign and vegetarian food is yummy 🙂

Cost of living is slightly lower than Singapore.  Buses and trains system works as well as it does in Singapore but it’s their architecture that I’m not crazy about.  That’s my one beef with this city.

What’s with the little tiles that only belong in a bathroom covering an ENTIRE apartment building?  I do like retro but there are some design concepts of that time that should stay in the past.  Exterior walls actually any wall other than a bathroom, covered with little tiles are one such concept.  Who wants to live in a building that looks like a toilet?  I guess the Taiwanese do :p

Other than that, I could live in Taipei 🙂  In the past 37 years, I’ve only managed to live in 2 out of those 10 so I can’t really say if the rest are as great as they are in my head.  Nowhere is perfect but I’ve been to each and know there’s enough for me to want to live there if the opportunity ever came up. We’ll see how life goes.

Meanwhile, from my family to yours enjoy the little that is left of the Bunny year and may the year of the Dragon be filled with wonderful fantastical dreams coming true!!

Pre CNY

It’s just one week to the new Dragon year and as luck would have in, I’m in Taipei.  Talk about sucking in the mood 🙂  It has been a while since I was back in Taipei.  The weather is not too cold  and I’m planning to make the best of this work trip.  Here’s the view from my room.

Between meetings and work meals, I plan to check out Taipei’s vegetarian buffet.  They’re yumms and it has been a while since I went to one.  Getting hungry just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, hope you’re getting into the Chinese New Year mood as I am here in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Tides Will Change

It’s so hard to think that when you’re going through a hard time.  I’m not that old, all of 36 years but I guess, long enough to know for sure, suffering just like joy does not and will not last forever.  I had a long chat with a friend who just had a miscarriage.  She’s sad.  Her second in less than 6months.  The topic soon covered her sharing stories with me on how she’s actually in a better shape than most people.

She lost her nephew 2 years ago to cancer.  He was but 8 years old and battled a rare form of cancer for 2 years.  Her sister, she told me, understandably, still struggles.

Her good friend lost his daughter a couple of months ago.  She was 13 and taking a walk with her friends.  A guy planning to kill himself ran into her and off a cliff along the Pacific Coastal Road in California.  She died instantly.

Four years ago, her colleague lost her mom, sister and two children in one plane crash.

What is a miscarriage?

And in my case, what’s the big deal about plans not going as planned?

It is so easy to get sucked into our suffering and feel that there’s no hope.  It’s all about perspective.  Granted, it’s something hard to hear when you’re struggling but whining certainly isn’t my style.  Internally, I hear enough of it already … yes, you have no idea what a day is like in my head on some days, so every now and then when I do get a little down, I choose to be happy.  I remember hearing that line somewhere, “when you’re sad, just choose to be happy” and thought, damn, that’s lame … now, I reckon it’s not only possible, it’s true.  One can choose to be happy, some days it’s easier to do and other days, it takes a whole lot of effort.

Today it’s one of those easy days and why I’m writing, it’s for the hard days when even getting out of bed seems hard.  Time will pass and the tides will change, like it has for million of years, it’s not for eternity 🙂  So if you are having a bad day, here’s a little hug from me to you and I hope that gets you through today.  It’s probably Friday the 13th jinx too 😉  Everything will be better tomorrow!!

Parenting is Tough

I was reminded again when I read this article, which I’ve replicated here:-

We all want our kids to have a better life than we did. These days, that’s more challenging than ever before. You’re overwhelmed, your kids are distracted, and schools don’t do a very good job of preparing them for the real working world.

You need to be involved in their education, make sure they get good grades, and send them to a decent college, but that’s all more or less a given. The most important factor in how successful your kids are in their careers comes down to what they learn from you.

Some of it comes from lessons you intentionally teach them, but even more comes from observing what you do. Your behavior may very well have more to do with how well your kids do in the real world than anything else. Here’s what you can do to give them the best chance of making it on their own:

Support what they love to do; don’t push them to do what you want them to do. It’s a common refrain from parents: “I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I made growing up.” Well, you can’t fix your mistakes through them. You’ll only succeed in screwing up their lives as well. Success comes from doing what you love to do, what you’re passionate about, not what you’re forced to do or pushed into doing.

Teach them to take risks. If they succeed it’ll give them confidence, but if they fail they’ll learn even more. Let them make their own mistakes and learn to take responsibility for the outcome. I know it’s hard to watch them try new things and fall on their faces, but to be honest, it’s really important that they get used to that. Don’t coddle them. Hold them accountable. And let them see you do the same. Let them see you as you are: Human, genuine, flawed. (emphasis is mine)

Teach them about the value of money and financial responsibility. If they see you treat money like it grows on trees, they’ll emulate that behavior. If on the other hand you teach them self-reliance, not to expect handouts from anyone, that’ll pay off in the long run. They need to know that their success and happiness depends solely on them.

Let them be kids. Social skills aren’t just important for kids to be kids; they’re critical for adults to be successful in the business world, as well. Sports, friends, relationships, parties, being out and about, it’s all good. Sure, they’ll have accidents, get into fights, and do things you wish they wouldn’t, but if you’re open and encourage them to come to you with their problems, then you can mentor them on how to get along and learn from their mistakes.

Treat them like adults. When children are little, they have giant egos. Growing up is all about learning that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them. For that transition to work, they need to feel safe and confident enough to take chances. You can help that along by giving them information and encouraging them to make their own decisions. Treat them as much like adults as they can handle and makes sense at the time — people don’t learn lessons from hearing them, they learn from living them. (again, emphasis is all mine)

Teach them about competition and team play. One of the great dichotomies in life is that success is very much about competing and winning, which by nature means others have to lose. That said, there are times when an individual is competing and times when it’s a team effort. Knowing the difference is important in the real world, but it’s a nuanced lesson, that’s for sure.

Encourage their natural curiosity. Children have a natural thirst for knowledge and understanding of how things work. Encourage them to seek that out in books, games, puzzles, whatever interests them. But here’s the thing: The modern world of ready-made toys and electronic gadgets is too easy, too spoon-fed, if you will. They’ll learn more by creating and using their imagination.

Teach them self-reliance. The sense of entitlement that’s becoming a national epidemic is success limiting and a career killer. The real business world doesn’t work that way, and the sooner kids learn that, the better. Sure, life is too short not to have fun, but you can’t let them take things for granted, either. Their drive to work hard and succeed has to come from them, and the only way that’s going to happen is if they learn it from you. (one last emphasis)

It’s hard enough to make sure the logistics of managing a family is running smoothly but we do want our children to not only have better lives but be better people than we are.  So when it’s my turn, I’ll try and remember all this.  Meanwhile, my munchkins nephew and nieces will get the brunt of my love 🙂

You so gotta love that cheeky little face of Rachael 🙂

Innocent Crushes

I just found out a friend from HK and I share the same hobby – innocent crushes.  He has as many of them as I do and changes them as quickly too.  The office building crush, the elevator crush, the bus crush, the barista crush, if they have something that is a little of my type, they could be someone I have a crush on.

Why I love crushes?

Well, simply because they never get a chance to go bad 🙂

It’s been a while since my last crush.  I’m going through somewhat of a crush dearth at the moment.  Between work and the holidays, I haven’t had the time to seek out any … is it me or where have all the cuties gone?