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 🙂

Version 2

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!

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!

50 Years From Today

I think it’s somewhat kismet that one year shy of turning 50, Singapore is going through her next milestone as an independent nation.  50 years ago, some considered her a backwater place with no hope.  Yet in 1965 against all hope, she was force to be independent and thrived into the 21st century.

With everything that has happened in the last month, it looks like the Singapore is going to turn 50 with yet another milestone under her belt – an unprecedented political awakening.  What am I talking about?  How Roy Ngerng managed to crowdraise the funds he needed for being sued by Singapore’s Prime Minister.  Some of my friends reckon he’s stupid and haven’t got an idea what he is up against, other friends think he is entitled to his opinion and is putting up a good fight.  Whatever your opinion is, it is raising a political awareness that is unseen in my lifetime.  For that I do appreciate what is happening.

I definitely don’t think he is stupid and am in many ways grateful that he cares enough about a policy to put his head on the line.  How many of us are willing to do that?  I guess that’s where some of my friends reckon stupid best describes – making unnecessary sacrifices for something you believe in.  Here’s where I love differing opinions and why it’s so very important for these discussions to be had for the continued growth of our very young nation.  I don’t agree with my friends that think he is being stupid.  I do think he is being brave to stand up for answers he believes Singaporeans have a right to ask for.  I’ve read his blogs and I don’t think there is anything wrong with what he is asking for.  No one seemed to be attempting to even address his questions when he was politely asking so I can see why he decided to push the button a little more.

Here’s my humble opinion, I’ve worked in the government, they do get some things wrong and they do get a whole lot of other things right too.  No organisation is perfect and that goes the same with the Singapore government.  One of the problems our government has is the lack of effective communications and officers riddled with fear of Singaporeans complaining.  In my experience, most officers do just enough so no one complains.  Nothing really wrong with that but when you’re a growing nation with intense competition to survive, just enough almost always doesn’t quite cut it.  That’s my issue with the civil service and my beef with Singaporeans is that we can really complain in the most nonconstructive nature.   Again in my experience, some of the complains that came through made me suspect that there are some Singaporeans with a tad too much time on their hands.

In the past, just enough was enough and that’s not to say some of us aren’t grateful for having homes, enough to eat, being able to walk safely at 3am.  In fact, we are grateful for all the good we have and also know we can’t stop there.  For all practical purposes, Singapore is as good as it gets but you know what, we can keep dreaming big.  So back to my point of political awakening and creating an environment for constructive discussions so that we keep growing and getting better.  Thank you Roy for pushing the envelop, that’s how as a society we will learn, both the government and the people.  It’ll be 2015 next year and I have a good hunch against all hope, we will be forced to evolve, build a democracy true to the heart of Singaporeans where people can offer constructive criticism and continue to thrive into the next century.

Being a 30 Something

I said it before, I love getting older and the 30s with all it’s ups and downs (some pretty heavy downs too) I love love love it.  It’s about becoming more aware, growing a soul and generally hopefully becoming a better version of my crazy and spontaneous 20something self.  So when I read what Anton Casey, all of 39 years old, did online, I’m like WTF!!  Seriously, dude, you deserve everything you’re getting because at 39 years old, you have no excuses.  None at all.  What in the world were you thinking when you posted this on social media?

Sure, I can see how someone can quietly crack a joke like that in the privacy of their own bedrooms on their 2500 thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets and think it’s remotely funny but on Social Media?!?!  And ok, I can also see this being done by a reckless teenager who grew up never having spent time with their parents, not ever lifting a finger and having other people pick up their crap.  But a 39 year old father?

Like my Dad always says, “In time, the laws of the universe teaches us all what we need to learn.”  It’s a pretty painful lesson to learn at 39 years old but oh so, necessary if his thoughtless post is any representation of who he really is.  In my household, it’s called growing pains and better to learn at 39 than not at all, I say 🙂

Another reminder to me that anyone can read this blog and while it exists mostly for me to remember who I was and how I think at a point of time, I’m hoping it also helps create a habit to be responsible about how I think and what I say or write.  It is about a journey of growing up.  My journey of wearing out my skin, getting it to a point where it’s so comfortable, my ego doesn’t exist and when the time comes for it to give way, I’m happy with how I lived but this is a public platform and so I shouldn’t write every thoughtless thing that comes into my head because yes, every once in a while my mind shocks me too with some of the poppycock that pops up.  That’s why being in your 30s is cooler than being in your 20s.  You can call out your own BS, you know better and that some jokes shouldn’t even be whispered out loud.

Wonder what turning 39 this year will reveal and maybe the 40s could be a decade even better than my 30s?  One can hope 🙂

In the meantime, happy last weekend of the Snake year!!

In 6 Months

I know exactly where I’ll be on 19th July 2012 🙂  Mat and Gen are going to say ‘I do’.

I’ve been really blessed with some really wonderful friendships.  One of them is with Gen who I met some 12 years ago when we produced a children’s series for Channel 8.  Yes, you’re reading it right, it was Channel 8.  I bet her Chinese teacher and mine are laughing their heads off at that fact but yes, we, 2 convent girls, did produce a Channel 8 program a long time ago.  Through the years we’ve seen each other through tough times and shared many joyful moments with never ending bantering and laughter.  Like a little sister, Gen and I share parallel experiences that’s quite uncanny.  She gets me and I can always count on her to be honest with me when I need it most.  So I was extremely honoured when she asked if I’ll be one of her bridesmaids and I replied, of course 🙂

I couldn’t be happier that she’s found Mat.  A sweet chef who’s been a hoot to get to know.  He’s perfect for Gen and grounds her like no one I’ve known to be able to do before 🙂  Besides their wedding, I can’t wait for the beautiful babies they’re going to make :p

It’s going to be a fun 6months coming up!!  Stay tune for wedding progress.

Accountability

If you’re living in Singapore, you know that 2012 is going to be a year for accountability.  At least that’s what the signs point to for me.  I’m talking about the ministerial pay.  Everyone has an opinion about it and at first I thought there’s enough opinions out there already and mine wasn’t any more different.  Then I read this in Today today so this post like most of my others, is to remind me when I forget.  Today it is why I take the democratic voting process so seriously.

I’m sure this article is meant as a balance but seriously, I don’t think any sane and logical person thinks politics is charity work.  Maybe some people do and it’s good to have an article about it … timing though … reading this article made me thing Mr Cheng is a little brown noser who had plans on being a minister but is rethinking his options.  I’m definitely not saying he is one.  It’s just an impression from one article. If I ever got the chance to know him, I’m pretty sure he’s a nice guy who cares both for his family and the country but it’s quotes like “To expect someone to sell his primary residence to enter or stay in politics is an idealism detached from reality”  that simply adds to my initial impression.  No, Mr Cheng, I don’t expect anything out of ordinary of them.  I expect the government be like everyone else sell their primary residence when they have failed to do what I have entrusted them to do on my behalf.  Many Singaporeans every day have to do what they have to, even sell their ONLY homes (mind you, not just primary residence) because they didn’t make the cut at work.

That is exactly why I appreciate PM, the clean wage approach and here’s my personal take on the pay cuts – accountability.  If you work in a big organisation, you have that annual review where your bosses and sometimes your peers give their 2 cents about you.  Your promotion, salary increment, bonuses all hinge on it.  Sometimes it’s fair, sometime it isn’t, sometimes you get lucky and other times you don’t.  The election was just that – the government’s review and by most standards, PM took the results to heart and is moving in the right direction for me.

On being the highest paid government in the world, here’s my bit to my fellow Singaporeans.  The clean wage approach is truly beneficial to the common man.  We don’t have to look at other governments.  Just look at MNCs that pay people well and have all kinds of benefits.  I’ve seen it first hand myself how unnecessary trips are made to chalk up points that the executive uses for personal purposes, entertainment expenses that simply pays for friends and family to enjoy, official car to pick up the family.  In the private sector it’s somewhat accepted but in the public sector, where practical any opportunity for abuse should not exist.  That is why I think Singapore has succeeded, the clean wage approach works with no extra fat that can be abused.

I have no issues for paying people very well in a transparent manner and if they keep delivering, keep increasing the pay and reward them equally.  For me, the private and public sector should be the same in this regard.

My constituency is Bishan-Toa Payoh.  I voted the opposition not because the ministers are paid too well but because I needed the government to understand that anyone that is paid very well has to be equally accountable for mistakes.

I voted for the opposition simply because our highly paid government were not delivering on things that were important to me .  Sure, no where is perfect but I would like to try to make Singapore as perfect as it gets.  Most Singaporeans own homes, have enough to eat, access to education, what else should we complain about?  If this was the 1950s, nothing very much.  A lot has changed and besides the basics, I want to live in a home where people are safe with fair opportunities.  Beyond that I hope that we become a nation where we are compassionate, competition is heathy and empathy is a rule not an exception.  Idealistic?  For sure, but without ideals we, as a society will never progress and be no better than some other democracies that we make light off.  Which brings me to the point of the article about not overplaying the ethos of public sector …  I did say empathy is important to me and should be apparent both in public and even in the private sector … this actually requires a whole other post so I’ll leave it at this.  I am idealistic and want a balanced level headed leadership who dares to make tough decisions with empathy for the every people they are serving.  In my humble opinion, we are not there yet but my vote made its tiny say and we’re on our way 🙂

Post 2011 GE, PM has shown me that his heart is in the right place, moved very specific people, as the leader be willing to take a pay cut and be accountable.  The buck stops has to stop somewhere and it is quite clear that the PM is taking his vocation seriously.  Nothing is perfect, you can’t please everyone and there will always be someone complaining but to me, he has taken the steps in the right direction.

To simple ‘ole me, Singapore is a true democracy at work, that’s why your vote is important and every Singaporean does make a difference.  Whatever your opinion, vote that way.  Don’t just complain and expect someone else to be accountable for your excuses.  Just like the government has to be, so must each citizen.  Talk is cheap, whether in parliament or in your everyday life.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep plodding along, doing my part as we keep evolving as a nation and one day, I hope my home gets as close to my ideal one as humanly possible 🙂

p/s: on a separate note, I actually do know of Singaporeans who cannot afford housing … or like me, can’t find it in myself to pay over a quarter of a million dollars for a resale 3 room HDB flat … that begs the question, if I can’t buy, how can lower income household do it?  So I just wake up every day and keep moving in the right direction.  That’s the best we can do and all I can ask of our leaders, incumbent or otherwise.

I Still Don’t Want to Live in a Birdcage

I’m so so so amazed with this company Resource Furniture.  Truly transformers!!

Since my husband and I are planning for a 3 maybe 4 room flat, these furnitures (if we could actually afford them after the flat prices these days) would be so so so wonderful to have.

Yes, some days this is what I do when I daydream.  What our little apartment will look like?  I’ve always wanted a little apartment, maybe a apart of me always knew that the prices of homes will go up and I’m never one to be a slave to my house.

That said, I want one of those old 3 room flats where the rooms are decently sized.  Yes, transforming furniture aside, I’ve never been fond of birds and really, I’m not a fan of urban city real small apartment living just yet.