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 🙂

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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!

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The Art of Being an Adult Child

This weekly post is a day late because I’m sitting in the Bali airport waiting for my flight to go back home to Singapore. It was the first solo weekend getaway with my Mum, it was also her first time to Bali. And it was a success, imho 🙂

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I’ve managed to make my Mum fall in love with Bali as much as I do. Honestly, before I wasn’t sure because there’s certain things my Mum doesn’t like … messy developing states and humid weather, just to name a couple but she does LIKE Bali, its massages and chilling by the villa!! That’s what I like being an adult child, being the one who opens our parents mind to something different, something new, something they would never do on their own. They did it for us while we were growing up and now as they are learning to get use to the next phase of their life -their silver years. They have to get use to us, the adult child being the ones who do the parenting.

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It’s so easy to see the stuff our parents do that drive us crazy, you know the stuff we complain about and eventually become 😉 Yah, those parts. For better or worse, I’m grateful I like my parents and if I’m eventually going to be like them, it isn’t going to be that bad. For me at least, not sure about my husband 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t perfect … far from it but they’ve who I got and they made me. You’ve heard the saying, ” Karma’s a bitch.” I’m my parents karma despite their pretty easy going ways raising me, I’m not an easy going adult child. I’m not quite sure why, I’m just not. I yell, I’m bossy and I’m controlling as hell but I’m learning trying to figure out life, being an adult, being me and when it comes to my parents, being an adult child.

I read a good advice somewhere once about how to be a good parent. It was simple. Just show up, be present and be there. It’s true, it really is quite that simple. You can’t always be there, can’t always be present and other times you simply can’t show up. Things happen, they do but you try your darn-est. Kids will get it. Me and my sister do.

So that’s what I’m learning about being an adult child, just try my best to show up, be present and be there. Next, to show up and be present while trying to open my parents’ mind to Google Drive and Dropbox 🙂

2014

I can’t believe my last post was 2 months ago and from LAST YEAR!!  The end of year came and took me by surprise … well, actually not that big of a surprise, I did expect its coming but the speed of which it came and went … that surprised me.  I’m still a little shell shocked that I finished Christmas shopping, put together a last minute proposal for a client, celebrated family birthdays, solved a missing payment at work, enjoyed the season celebrations, made a bid for a new client, learned how to cook popiah, worked some more and ushered the New Year zombie style with my family quicker than you can say Happy New Year.  A whole bunch of milestones all rolled into 2 happy busy months.

Now it’s 2014 and *drumroll* on to real milestones.

My 4 year old Goddaughter got her ears pierced!!  She didn’t cry and only said that it was “a little bit pain”.  Needless to say I’m very proud of her.  I was a wee lass of 3 years old when my own ears got pierced and the very clear memory of burning pain pulsating through my ears still sends shivers down my spine.  So when little girls want and eventually get their ears pierced, I have nothing but respect for them.

My little Rachie is growing up quick.  It’s 2014 and she wants earrings … I have a feeling come 2024, it’ll be tattoos.  Part of me is missing the baby she no longer is but I’m looking forward to the new shared experience of getting older that I already share with her brother and sister.  I love how they develop their own opinions.  How very similar or very different they can view the world from me.  How from them, I relearn and am inspired to try harder and be better.  I think that’s why God puts kids in our lives 🙂

Here’s to a 2014 filled with reasons to try harder and be better 🙂

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!!

in·er·tia

noun

inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like; inactivity; sluggishness.

Sometimes I feel, despite the progress we’ve made on so many things, we’re still stuck on just as many other things.  What am I talking about?

This post is exactly 2 weeks old today.  Simply because I had a lot of thoughts when I first read it and like my previous post on Equality, I gave myself some time to ponder and reflect.

In the new year of the Snake, we can agree to disagree and keep this old law in our current legal system but here’s my proposal, let’s bring back an even older law that both the straight and gay communities would have no problems to – outlaw adultery.  It’s been a really long long time since it was a criminal offence.  At some point, even the most conservative thought it was ok that it no longer be considered a crime or that they were so small a voice, the rest of society thought it was ridiculous to criminalise it.  If our conservative roots reckon that being gay breaks down the family unit, yadda yadda yadda, they have to agree with me that adultery has a more extensive impact on society.  Case in point, Singapore’s sex scandals in the year of the Dragon, it affected not only families but also whole constituencies.  Make adultery a crime and maybe the breaking down of family units that we are so worried about will come to a grinding halt.

Sounds ridiculous?

So does saying that keeping 377A will uphold values that is important to the Singaporean core, even if it is only the conservative core.  Ok, I’m exaggerating and that’s not exactly what the government or PM is saying but keeping this old law in our current legal system is like saying yes, it’s ok to treat people who are different from us as criminals.  That is no hyperbole.  This is what keeping 377A means.

Being gay is no different from being a single parent, from being a adopted, from being schizophrenic, from being a woman, from being Chinese.  People don’t choose to be these ways and when there is a perception of choice involved, it really isn’t a choice.  To make that a crime goes against the grain of everything I hope for Singapore – a considerate and empathetic society that can overcome any storm, in spite of our differences.

Conservative or otherwise, I don’t think anyone will disagree with me that treating someone as a criminal for just being different is a very heavy thing to do.  If I haven’t been clear, I am not really suggesting we make it illegal to cheat though I don’t think I’ll  have any problems garnering support for that.  My point is this, society, especially the conservative roots does a good enough job on shaking their heads to adultery and it isn’t something any of us, progressive,conservative, straight or gay, want to happen to our families.  Sure, mistakes happen but it isn’t a crime. So why should 377A still exist? Even with criminal mistake, we all understand and forgive.

To be very clear, this is what I’m trying to say, being gay is not a mistake.  It is being different and it isn’t about forgiveness, it’s about acceptance and exactly why 377A has no place in our home today.

Convent Girls

I think girls who go to convent schools all over the world have a certain kind of reputation.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some totally ridiculous and some are just all perceptions.  I went to a convent school and loved loved loved it.  Made some really good friends.  I remember making a few enemies as well.  It is after all an ALL girls school 🙂  All in all, I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else.

However, I always thought if I ever had my own daughter, she’d never go to a convent school.  Why?

Well, because I didn’t realise how small our convent girl world was till I left the schools.  My friends in school were similar to the Catholic family friends I grew up with, which was pretty similar to the family I was brought up in.  Nothing bad about that … except it was a little Stepford Wife-ish for me.  Although, most convent girls are anything but Stepford wives :p

As a Mum I reckon, that my job will be to afford opportunities and experiences to my children where I didn’t have.  Most of my dearest and nearest, even those I didn’t meet in convent school and made later in life, are of the convent school mould.  In that case my children, if I ever have any, would already have exposure to that lifestyle, their values and perspectives.  All pretty similar to mine.  My argument then is that the school they go to should expose them to other equally positive lifestyles, value systems and perspectives.  Hence, the no convent school route for my daughter.

Until now.

Next year when my niece starts primary 1, she’ll be going to a convent school just like her aunts 🙂  There’s something to be had about tradition and seeing her in the same uniform I once don, my heart melted and knew that she’d fit right in, have a whale of a time and be a better woman for it 🙂

So I’m not so sure anymore that I won’t send my daughter to a convent school.  Right now though, I’m just grateful that I don’t need to deal with the dilemma of picking a school for my yet-to-exist daughter.  When I do, I’ll reread this post and like every other conundrum  in life, pray for guidance 😉