Seriously?

All I can say is I’ll let some time pass … about 365 days to be exact before I let my thoughts on this go wild ūüôā

Why a year? ¬†I’d like to see how this regulation is implemented especially since the current class license seems to be able to take care of the problems this new regulation is hoping to solve. ¬†Yes, I am a tad confused on the necessity of this new regulation.

Also, a little sad but I’m all about the glass being half full so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this regulation is just for what they are saying it’s for and not to control the way people think. ¬†I’m willing to give it a year and the benefit of doubt. ¬†For now, that is.

Reminder set for May 28, 2014.  Check.

The Great Gatsby

Before watching the movie, I heard that it was good and I also heard that it was bad, very bad. ¬†Bad enough for one of my friend to fall asleep 20 minutes into the movie. ¬†I didn’t quite fall asleep but I do think that Baz Lurhmann may want to consider retirement. ¬†I loved his work from Strictly Ballroom to Australia. ¬†I remember watching Romeo + Juliet in Perth and wanting to direct. ¬†The Great Gatsby isn’t like any of his earlier films. ¬†In fact, if anything The Great Gatsby shows that he has yet to grow as a director.

I did like the book when I read it. ¬†In fact, it’s my favourite Fitzgerald. ¬†So when they changed some of the lines in the book and didn’t quote them verbatim, I felt a little cheated. ¬†Simply because the change took away the gravity of the lines as I read them in the book. ¬†The movie also didn’t do justice to the complex characters and relationships. ¬†However, most film adaptations don’t do justice to the book so Mr Lurhmann isn’t alone in this. ¬†I’ve said this before, if I notice directorial calls that I would have done differently, the film is a little flawed by me. ¬†It happened more than a couple of time with this movie. ¬†I even had time to ponder what if Leonardo played Nick and Tobey played Gatsby instead?

Overall, it was a little¬†disappointing¬†but I had to watch it for so many reasons. ¬†The director, the cast, the story and the soundtrack, which I really liked. ¬†Everyone now knows what is my next iTunes purchase ūüôā ¬†Unless you’re a big Leonardo fan, go read the book, the story is so much better there and your imagination can be wilder than Baz Lurhmann’s.

Wheat Free Vegan Baking

I decided to make things a little bit more challenging since my last baking. ¬†For someone who can’t bake, it seems a little silly to do that but what the heck, life is too short ūüôā ¬†More than that, my good friend SP bought me a gluten free baking book for turning 38. ¬†Took me a couple of months to gather the ingredients and find the time motivation to do and ta daaaah!!

I made Dark Chocolate Cupcakes for the 12th of May and replaced¬†cocoa¬†powder for carob. ¬†In my opinion, it looked decent, the taste was ok but the texture was plain awful :p ¬†It was like taking a bite into a cake and have it crumble into sand soaking up all the moisture in your mouth. ¬†I did say awful. ¬†My husband aka resident guinea pig of the MacLaughlan household kindly ate a couple and said they were not bad. ¬†If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is ūüôā

If you knew me, you’d know I’m not the sort that backs away from a challenge and that’s what it felt like when I looked at the remaining 14 cupcakes in the fridge the next day. ¬†The terribly failed carob cupcakes were sitting in the container daring me to do it all over again, make another batch as awful as they were. ¬†So one night while waiting for a work call to start I had a couple of hours to kill and decided to try the Coconut Heaven Cupcake.

I am happy to report, this time it was slightly better … yes … just slightly. ¬†“Small steps” is my motto. ¬†I’ll get there eventually ūüôā ¬†The texture wasn’t so terribly crumbly but still it doesn’t have the cake texture that a normal wheat and dairy filled one would have had but it was ever so slightly better. ¬†The perils of trying to eat better. ¬†People ask me why I do it? ¬†For one, it really does make me feel better. ¬†Ask people who knew me before my vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan days, I would eat anything. ¬†After cleaning up my diet, I do feel like my stomach digests the less processed, less dairy¬†vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan meals more and I do feel better overall for it. ¬†It may all be in my mind, I don’t know and am open to that.

For now, I actually enjoy experimenting with healthier options. ¬†I’m happy to have more tasters if you’re allergic to wheat or diary and wanna try them … I can’t promise they’ll all be good though :p

Star Trek Into the Darkness

I’m finally catching up on my movie watching and saw Star Trek Into the Darkness. ¬†Real quickly, it’s great if you aren’t a Trekkie but if you are, you’d probably feel a little insulted once the credits roll. ¬†That’s if you weren’t too insulted with the first one as it is.

I wouldn’t say I’m a trekkie. ¬†I’ve watched the series and most of the films. ¬†Enjoyed them all because I have a fascination with aliens from outer space but I’m by no means a trekkie. ¬†All that just means, I did enjoy the film. ¬†Also helps that I do like J.J Abrams, I may not agree with all his directorial calls but I do enjoy his treatments. ¬†On the whole, the movie was a fun ride with a different take and reminded me of why the Vulcans intrigued me. ¬†And maybe just maybe why I chose to be vegetarian ūüôā ¬†Beyond that there’s something to be had about leaning on logic and reason. ¬†A harsh lesson I learnt when I was 11 and found out a classmate I barely knew hated me. ¬†Yes, the word used was hated. ¬†Children can be that mean.

Anyway, I was hurt and confused. ¬†Why would someone hate harmless ‘ole me? ¬†Especially if we’ve barely even said hello to each other. ¬†I did say before I have a big ego :p but really I didn’t know why someone would not like me. ¬†The whole incident truly threw me for a loop. ¬†I even confronted her about it and she simply just said, “I just hate you.” ¬†At the same time I watched an episode of Star Trek and for the first time realise that Spock has it right, feelings does seem to be a waste of time and just clouds decision making.

Needless to say I’ve grown since then and that 11 year old smiled at the scenes where her favourite Vulcan struggled with feelings and logic because 38 year old me totally relates despite knowing better ūüôā ¬†Not quite as dramatic as saving a race from a volcano but yes, I still prefer making choices erring to the side of logic, which makes me realise why I have a thing for TV fictional¬†characters that have this mind-over-matter approach starting with Spock then Scully, House and Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Khan in the movie. ¬†He’s a hoot to watch in both roles and does such a great job giving both characters enough depth for the audience to root for them. ¬†Like I said, I had fun with the movie and now am inspired to start rewatching Star Trek from the beginning.

Wonder how much I can cover this Vesak Day weekend?

A Godson

Hello world, please meet my lovely Godson, Christian.

He is a week old today as he came into the world, 16th May 2013. ¬†Now my munchkins are an even steven with 2 nieces and 2 nephews!! ¬†Godchildren wise, I finally have a Godson, after 3 beautiful Goddaughters ūüôā

In these pictures, our latest addition to the family looks like his Mummy, my little cousin, Valerie. ¬†I’m still in awe that she’s all grown up and had a baby. ¬†Some part of me still thinks of her as that little girl who shared chocolate teddy bickies with my sister and I, while hanging out at a playground ūüôā ¬†And the other part of me is so grateful she’s all grown up and had this lovely baby who is my Godson. ¬†I’m looking forward to getting to know him, see the world through his eyes and have him teach me about what’s important in life.

Love you to bits, Baby Chris!!

12th May

While everyone in the world was celebrating Mother’s Day, my husband and I were sharing a bowl of tao huay celebrating our 6th anniversary.

11 years ago to this date, over a bowl of tao huay we made a simple connection that led us to where we are today. ¬†So every year we share tao huay and think about that day that saw the exchange of emails, long distance calls (pre Skype days), letters, flights and an eventual cross pacific move. ¬†I’ve been very lucky with my husband. ¬†Nothing is perfect and trust me when I say we’ve had our very own major obstacles but together we’re learning to be better halves for each other. ¬†The past 6 years have taught me it does take two people to make a relationship work. ¬†Two healthy people, I might add.

Not many people remember the exact day they made a connection. ¬†It was easy for me because 12th of May is also my Mama’s birthday. 11 years ago, I was in church missing my Grandma and praying for guidance because I was about to give up on relationships. ¬† ¬†God does truly work in¬†mysterious¬†ways and that same night my husband and I shared that very bowl of tao huay. ¬†5 years after that night, we got married on the same date. ¬†It warms my hear to know that my Mama is with us every year as we celebrate the good times and remember the difficult times that make us stronger.

That is her, my Mama, probably in her early thirties and younger than I am today with her first four children, my Daddy is in the middle standing next to his sister. ¬†She went on to have her baby son and my youngest uncle a couple of years after this picture was taken. ¬†So on this day, her birthday and my anniversary, I think of her and her constant grace under fire, praying that I’ve inherited that from her.

11 year ago that day was Mother’s Day too ūüôā ¬†We had dinner celebrating the day before I headed off to meet my friends where I shared that bowl of tao huay with my husband. ¬†Yes, I do remember that day quite clearly in my head. ¬†This year while I’m not yet a mother, I’ve come to understand how very difficult this job is. ¬†Especially ¬†my mummy :p with two daughters like my sister and I. ¬†So this Mother’s Day, while she’s in Perth and I’m in Singapore, I hope she knows how many of my strengths comes from her and how grateful I am for all of the sacrifices she’s made so that I may chase after all that makes me happy.

This Mother’s Day, my parents are not alone though, my sister is there in Perth reminding my Mummy how much we love her and how we will be no where without her love.

12th of May.  Definitely one of my favourite days in the year.

Freak Accidents

I don’t like them but every once in a while they happen. ¬†Earlier this week, one of my Goddaughters, Nicole had a very strange one happen to her and I’m so grateful she wasn’t badly hurt. ¬†Actually in the bigger scheme of things, she was ok ūüôā

Here’s what happened, some how, no one knows exactly how but her earring got pulled into her ear lobe!! ¬†Yes, where the stud/stone usually is, the front portion of the earring, it was pulled back into her ear lobe. ¬†So much so her parents thought the stud/stone had broken off because you could still see the back of the earring coming from the back of her ear. ¬†It wasn’t until the x-ray revealed this:-

That’s the stud of her earring actually intact and in her ear lobe!! ¬†According to her doctor, this isn’t common but it’s happened before O_o ¬†Makes me rethink this ear¬†piercing¬†business. ¬†I still remember getting my ears pierced and I was only 3 at that time … that’s for a whole other post. ¬†Back to Nicole who was as brave as one can be with an earring stuck in your ear lobe, which made me realise how much she’s grown since I first started getting to know her.

That little precocious toddler has given way to a considerate little girl. ¬†There are still a couple of days when that spunky toddler appears especially when she feels she’s had made one too many sacrifices for her little sister. ¬†Those days are rare, especially with me as she’s growing to be quite the kind and compassionate girl ūüôā

As tween-dom beckons, the challenges of this new stage are slowly showing. ¬†I’ve started to notice the insecurities, I remember so clearly in my own growing pains, appearing as she starts to¬†navigate¬†the world of friends and people outside your comfort zone. ¬†Dealing with people who may or may not like you, trying to understand where people are coming from, developing empathy … these aren’t things that can be taught. ¬†You learn them watching the people around you, parents, grandparents, teachers and other children around you. ¬†It’s exciting and scary at the same time. ¬†As a Godmother, I must admit, I do get nervous watching these little ones enter this new stage of their lives, only because I remember the complex terrain of it.

As they grow, I’ve to remind myself to give them space to find themselves. ¬†I’m pretty sure I’ll keep trying to be that cool Godma/Aunt … at least from my perspective :p ¬†I’m going to be right there holding their growing hands through this stage as I did when they were little toddlers needing help climbing stairs, going down slides or just walking along.

It’s when they go into teen-dom that I’ll really start to worry ūüôā

Bali Blues

Last week this time, I was just back from Bali and thriving on a Bali high but it’s been a week since I got home from a very relaxing time with possibly the best bunch of people to go away with. ¬†So the Bali blues are setting in and this post is me taking a stroll down memory lane and reliving the 5 days in Bali.

Some of us got there by budget and others got upgraded to business. ¬†Either way we took off from rain in Singapore to sunny skies in Bali and landed pretty much at the same time. ¬†First life lesson from the trip, it really doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there ūüôā ¬†As usual the drive to Seminyak, which actually isn’t far from the Denpasar airport, took about an hour … I promptly fell asleep for a nap and woke up to our lovely villa.

This was home for 5 days in Bali. ¬†It was a large enough pool with just enough space for 4 people to lounge around. ¬†It¬†was a lovely spot hang out, do a little work, get in some skipping, talk, hang out some more, swim and basically just chill. ¬†It was close to the main road but secluded enough to be quiet. ¬†It isn’t very known yet so taxis may have a hard time looking for it. ¬†Yet with all things in Bali, the minute you step out of your pretty villa, it’s messy everywhere.

This is what we have to walk through to get to the main road, which is maybe 2 minutes away. ¬†This is the part about Bali that puts people off but for me, it is strangely intriguing. ¬†I can’t quite explain it. ¬†Something about chaos makes me wonder about people and their possible stories. ¬†How people live through chaos? ¬†Settle into living through mess? ¬†I guess the luxury of growing up with needs met gives you coloured glasses to look through. ¬†Makes me grateful for my first world problems I face, like the water pressure in the villa being weak to say the least :p

Water pressure aside, the beautiful villa is a bonus and I have nothing to complain about but it’s always the company that makes the difference in any experience. ¬†With friendships, I’ve been really blessed with people who make simple dinners to beach holidays so much more wonderful.

Even better, I had a circle of friends collision ūüôā ¬†As the stars aligned, my other friend, Mia who lives in Melbourne was in Bali for a wedding and we all caught up for dinner. ¬†Crazy people gathered around a table is formula for nonsense conversations and a fun night, which is exactly what it was.

Needless to say, I had a great time in Bali.  We even ventured out of Seminyak, which is rare for us and caught a sunset by Jimbaran.

Pretty, isn’t it? ¬†That’s the only reason why I’ll go to Jimbaran. ¬†Other than that, the seafood¬†restaurants along the coast are all tourist traps and I’ve had better food elsewhere in Bali. ¬†¬†Suffice to say, I had a good time in Bali. ¬†We stayed for 5 days this time and a little longer than our usual and I’ve realised I can stay a week in Bali. ¬†5 days was a great length of time though. ¬†Enough time to settle in, do the usual and try something new. ¬†Like this:-

Yep, don’t mess with me ūüôā ¬†I can pull out the Street Fighter move when I want to. ¬†Ok ok ok I’m not that delusional, the impressive one is Zack who is doing the jump and Resh who is taking the photo. ¬†I just got into pose … that took work too :p

I’m already planning for the next Bali getaway. ¬†I can’t wait.

The Importance of Being Ernest

Oscar Wilde is such a hoot. ¬†I love the way he looks at the world he lived in and in many ways, his plays are still relevant in the 21st century, especially The Importance of being Ernest. ¬†Why are people obsessed¬†about what other people think and life has a funny way of showing us up? ¬†Yes, I recently caught Wild Rice’s interpretation of that very play. ¬†If you missed it, don’t worry about it.

In my humble opinion, it was just ok.  A total hoot but only ok.  It was funny with Ivan Heng channeling his inner Maggie Smith as Lady Bracknell and Hossan Leong hamming it up as Miss Prism.  However, that was the problem for me, it seem like Ivan Heng got his best mates together and just hammed it up for a party.

The set looked like it could be someone’s home,¬†especially a particular theatrical someone type home. ¬†The costumes would be what every good campy costume party host would expect of his guests. ¬†So that’s how I felt, like a neighbour peering through the fence watching an over the top costume party. ¬†Maybe that was Glen Goei’s intention and if it is, well done to him and his cast. ¬†If not, I paid … actually my good friend paid good money to attend a party we weren’t invited to.

Next up, Othello.