The Ability to Give

Over the Chinese New Year weekend, my dear friend , Claire and her family didn’t think twice to help a couple who needed it.  In their own words, Claire shares how each of us in our own ways can change the world we live in.

Yesterday evening while we were on our way for a CNY visit, we saw this old couple stuck by the side of Opera Estate along Siglap road. For those of you who know the area, the roads are very slopey and not at all conducive for pushing a wheelchair. We quickly stopped our car and Pann got out to help the uncle. The wheelchair was in a bad condition and was unable to be maneuvered properly. Eventually the tire gave way and Pann had to call a taxi to send the couple home. We could not stop thinking about them the whole night.

Today, we spoke to Renn and Aira and we decided to use all our Ang Pow money to buy the old couple a new wheelchair. We knew the block they were staying at but had no idea which floor nor unit. We were very lucky to be able to locate the old auntie and eventually got to the uncle. And we realised they had no relatives keeping in touch with them in their one room flat.

They were so happy and surprise to receive the present along with some Ang Pows.

This got to be one of the best days knowing that the kids were very passionate about helping others because Chinese New Year is not about receiving Ang Pows but sharing with others.

I was fortunate to be part of the CNY visit that very night and they shared the story with us before it went viral online.  We got the low down scoop on how their giving led to others giving too.  The cab driver that took Pann and the couple back didn’t charge them for the ride either.  The story even gather enough interest to be picked up by the local publications 🙂

For me, I love the fact that a simple story about giving and sharing love made its way around.  I love that it isn’t just depressing or hateful stories that run amok online.  I love that I’m blessed enough to have friends who remind me that living is about sharing, giving and filling it with moments of love.  I also love how the Year of the Horse is starting off in my world.

Uu

If you along Orchard Road and a little bored with the usual shopping, drop by Scotts Square and check out an exhibition by Kinetic Singapore.  It’s also a pop up store of sorts to get a miniature replica of yourself done.

3D scanning is all the rage nowadays but few have the ability to deliver the quality that I saw at the exhibition.  Ok ok ok, I may be a little bias because the organisers are dear friends.  That said, go check it out for yourself and I’m happy to be corrected.  Though my hunch is that you’ll agree that the likeness is better than most 3D scanners out there.

So it’s no surprise, my besties and I had a blast inspecting the miniatures, especially the Lims, which were my favourite.  I was so very tempted to get one of myself.  I can just imagine displaying mini me with my Ultimate Bumblebee.  In in the meantime, here’s my favourite picture from the day, regular us while we contemplate about getting mini us.

The Intern

I don’t know if I was a good intern (all of the two time I was one) but Cloudpic’s first intern has been such a blast to work with.  So it is with a heavy heart that I write this post because after 3 months, it’s his last day today.

That’s him to my left and quite honestly, there is nothing I could complain about having an intern, especially one that came in the shape of him.  It’s rare to find initiative and curiosity in one person nowadays.  Our intern has both and he’s reliable too!!

So Illias, we’ll miss you.  Don’t be a stranger 🙂  Keep in touch.  You may not be sure what you want to do right now but keep doing your best and I’m pretty sure everything will work out as it should 😉 All the best!!

Mr and Mrs Woon

6 months ago, a little kitten was led out of the wedding bag.  This was the day we were preparing for.  It went by quick like with all happy occasions and here’s my recap of the day.  It started early for the most of the wedding party, getting into peak hour traffic to get to church on time.  I’m happy to report no one hit any major snags and we were there all ready to get the day going.  The groomsmen had the ever gorgeous bridesmaid, Nis looking over them and were all working hard when I got there 2 minutes after 9.  We settled in and of course, I started taking pictures.

From the top left hand corner, that’s Michelle and Nis getting the front table ready.  Then me and Bernie taking a pause for a picture.  Next up, Michelle and Nis when I said, “Look here girls!!”  At the bottom left, that’s Perry in between Nis and me.  I’d say, he’s in awe of how beautiful Nis looks but that’s just me 🙂  Then it’s me and Cheryl, director extraordinaire.  One of my favourite part of weddings is watching the nervous groom before the bride arrives.  Mat was playing the part well 🙂  He was well supported by his boys but the nervous buzz coupled with unbridled happiness was clear on his face that morning.

You can tell from the picture I made him take with me.  He must have been thinking,”Crazy bridesmaid Carlene, I have better things to do than take a picture with you.” but yesiree, I document almost everything.  So there’s me with the happy groom and if you didn’t think he could be happier, he did get very much more happy when his bride arrived.  I wish I had a camera while I was walking down the aisle but I didn’t and remembered looking at Mat, the smile he had when Gen walked in with her Dad.  He even teared up a little and melted my heart.

The wedding mass went smoothly and beautifully without a hitch and as simple as that Gen and Mat became Mr and Mrs Woon.  Up next was the party bit and once the photo taking in church was done, it was wrapping up and moving to our next location, Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens.

When we got there the wedding decorators were already going to town with the place.  We helped out and arranged the other odds and ends with about 45minutes to spare.  The guests started arriving and we pinged the newly weds that the anticipation for their arrival was steadily growing.

I managed to catch a shot with the bride just before her walk in and the party started.  With loving speeches, dancing, cheers, laughter and lots of chattering, it was a room full of love and warm wishes for the newly minted Mr and Mrs Woon.  I couldn’t be happier for my dear friend, Gen.  Mat is a sweet sweet guy and perfect for her.  For Mat, Gen’s big heart is all he is going to need for the rest of his life.  I can’t wait for their little ones who I know will have all they need in their parents to face this crazy world we live in 🙂

Haze-a-pore

I know I’ve been blessed all my life and in case I forget, God reminded me again by letting the haze envelop Singapore just as I got on a plane to head to Perth.  Ok ok ok, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love my sister who’s had to battle the crazy haze with the rest of Singapore.  I know I just got lucky this time around.  Very lucky as I read and kept in touch with daily PSI readings till it went into the hazardous stages.

Here’s a picture my friend sent me where the Singapore Flyer is completely shrouded by the haze earlier today.  I truly don’t know what can be done because I don’t know enough about what’s happening in Indonesia to have a seriously considered comment about how they do things.  I have been busy in Perth :p  However, I bet I have a teenage neighbour who smokes from his bedroom window because it faces mine so occasionally I smell cigarette smoke in my room.  I may not have satellite images revealing the fire and the smoke from his bedroom and even if I did, I do understand the need for a diplomacy dance.  We live side by side and everyday we’re going to have to share other common areas and air being one of them.  Fortunately there are things I can do, close the window, switch on the fan and blow it in his direction, politely let them know and hope they react positively.

The haze, on the other hand, isn’t quite within Singapore’s control but each and every one of us can also do our level best.  Close the windows, share what we can afford to those who cannot and be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem.  Easy for me to say, I’m not home.  I’d like to think I could be that way if I was home too and not hoard masks, blame everyone else and use the haze as an excuse to laze.  I’m sure I’ll be put to the test when I’m back home … according to everything I’ve read, it’s likely to stay for a couple of months.

I’m not the only lucky one though.  I think for the first time ever, my friends, Cherry, Gerie, Claire, Lynn and I are not in Singapore at the EXACT same time.  Over this crazy haze weekend, we were in different parts of the world.

Ah got to love these 6 kids 🙂  Aren’t they adorable?  If there was a good time for being in different parts of the world at the same time, this would have been it.

See everyone back in Singapore in July!!

Not So Little Saffy

Today a little friend of mine turns 10 and I still remember going to her first month celebrations.  It’s amazing how fast time flies and how quickly the little ones in our lives grow.  Due to her family and friends being everywhere around the world today, we all got together a little earlier to celebrate in style with the birthday girl.

The neon theme party threw me for a slight loop till I remembered my very bright neon yellow sandals my sister bought me for Christmas.  I also forgot I actually have a neon pink top somewhere in my closet.  Oh well, there I was decked out in black with my neon sandals with my munchkins who will miss Saffy when she moves to New York.  They had a whale of a time.  For my nephew in particular, he usually finds himself in the minority with more girls than boys.  This time, he played rough, didn’t have to watch out for anyone because he was one of the boys and they were in the majority.

My niece had fun too and enjoyed hanging out with girls and of course, Renn.  It’s so nice to watch them grow up together.  Maybe they’ll stay friends and maybe they won’t but I do hope they get as lucky as I’ve been with friends.  It wasn’t always this way and in the past, I’ve had a couple of toxic friends myself.  Learnt the hard way and while they aren’t bad people themselves, I now know I can choose not to allow people to treat me badly.  Here’s 3 women, sans Lynn who we miss dearly (thank goodness for Whatsapp and FaceTime) and living it up in Maui.  So it’s actually 4 women who have showed me what real friendships mean.

In some ways we’re so different and yet in others so very similar.  I don’t know if they realise how much they’ve each inspire me to be better and that’s what real friendship means.  Supporting you when you need it most and being genuinely happy at your successes.  They’ve done it for me so often and for each other, showing that it is possible to put people who you aren’t related to before yourself. I’m so thankful for our seemingly inane conversations to quiet times when we lean on each other for strength.  Each time they make the difficult but right choices in life, they give me the courage to make the same hard choices in mine.  Our friendship always makes me think of this Dad’s advice to his children “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.”

So today on your 10th birthday dearest Saffy, I wish you a lifetime of wonderful friendships.  Happy Birthday angel!!

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 🙂  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 🙂  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 🙂  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.