Monday, 27 February 2006

Spread the love!

Last night, a grid door separated Grams and me; she was on the inside seeing us off and I was outside waiting for Mother to put on her shoes. My right hand was on a bar, just hanging there innocently. Then Grams took my forefinger and gave it a squeeze..

I looked at her, huh? She smiled. And squeezed my other fingers in turn. I smiled too.

"Hee, very bah bah right.."
"No la, no bah here.."

I realised, no one has ever given me this much love. I never knew that it could be so effortless, just a tiny squeeze.

My thoughts turned to Meh when I got back, my dearest Meh. I wanted to squeeze Meh's paws, I wanted her to feel my love like I did earlier. Then I realised yet another amazing thing: when I spread my love to her, I felt that it was reciprocal, I felt very happy myself!

Ahhh, don't you like that warm fuzzy feeling as I do? Go on, go squeeze your loved ones now :)

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Tribal workers

Today's generation of high-earning professionals maintain that their personal fulfilment comes from their jobs and the hours they work. They should grow up, says Thomas Barlow.

Came across this
FT article of above title, parts of which resonate with me. Some rough thoughts below:

We are children of a different generation from our parents and their parents before them. We are of a generation with more education opportunities available to almost anyone. Education may not be all but it cannot be dismissed; it paves the way to some degree of upward social mobility.

In the past, people struggled with bread and butter issues to bring up child after child; today, people strive to provide enrichment lessons/ activities for their child outside school curriculum time. In the past, people did whatever they could do because they did not have much choice; today, people do not necessary do whatever they could do because they have too many choices. In the past, people were happy if their jobs could provide for their family; today, people may not be happy with a high-paying job if it does not give a sense of fulfilment.

Since we are enabled with options, it has hence become natural that we are faced with a problem of a different nature: we have difficult deciding on the best exit out of a mega roundabout in the road of life, and any of these endless exits will likely lead us to yet another such roundabout. (Generic "we" here; I don't see myself with that many options.. yet? :p)

We no longer want a job that pays for a lovely house and the latest car but forces eight or more unsatisfying hours on us every day. We do not want to be empty shells sleeping in that perfect house, driving that fastest car. Abundancy has bred a different form of discontentment.

Yes, jobs may not - or should I say, should not - be the sole activity that gives fulfilment to life; personal relationships like family should. But it is necessary that we work so I think it makes sense to make a lifestyle option out of a job since we (well, most of us) spend at least 8hours at work.

But, as the author says, we have to take care not to be disillusioned into believing that working long hours equate fulfilment. It isn't a matter of good or bad; it's simply sad!

"It's as though he was validated, or making his life important by this (working long hours)"

While I know that working longer hours won't affect my pay, I (and many colleagues) do that often - mostly Mon, Tue, Thu and sometimes Fri -; I enjoy working more than coming back to this house to find nothing satisfying. It is not that I feel important at work, but my work does present learning opportunities that can help better me. And I want a better me. But this article made me wonder if I'm using work to fill the void from my lack of 1) personal space, 2) (immediate) family life, 3) bf.

Nothing is valued so highly as accumulated experience. Nothing is neglected so much as commitment.

The article describes some people who would rather give up committing to a relationship cos "loneliness is better than boredom". I'm tempted to agree. At this point in my life, I still could suffer loneliness, but boredom out of the mouth of a 20-something in the prime of her life just seems so unforgivable!

This should be my least fluffy work in a long time! Realised that I like to engage myself in things like this, though I could not hold such attention for too long :p Had a great time earlier today over MSN with SY and CY, discussing the article and its relevance, in general and to us. It beats mundane leisure like movies or shopping any day. But anyway, I combed half of Holland V this pm with IS :p Yet another happy Sat :)

The days gone by..

Well, just the past three days :p

Went for my second session with the clinical trial chaps on Wed. As usual, did the skin prick and urine test. Three new things:

1) Blood test: The doc tried a spot on my right arm just above where my GP drew blood couple of weeks back. But after the needle went in, the vein disappeared! He gave up after 5min to try the wrist where veins were more obvious. After another 5min, I decided to look and saw only about 1ml of blood in the syringe. The team decided it was hopeless too. So I did other tests before I was saved from further futile attempts by another doc who passed by; he succeeded in drawing 10ml on my other wrist without using the tiny syringe - they called it butterfly, for babies! - they were preparing to use. The first two attempts left two bruises on me *.* Funny was that, I think the doc who poked two holes in me for nothing seemed more traumatised than me!

2) Some nose cavity test: Each nostril was covered by this tube in turn, think sound waves or something were used to determine the size of the empty space inside. Did this twice, once before and once after the below..

3) Nasal challenge: Just like the name implies! The prof squirted allergens directly into my nostrils and within two seconds, I started sneezing and for the next 5min, I sneezed about twenty times, with most within the first 3min - they kept count!

Started on the medicine on Thurs, so far so good.. Praying hard that I'm in the treatment group!

Now to Thurs before a meeting started. I went up to chat with this colleague I hadn't seen for a while and she suddenly said, "Are you pregnant? When did you get married??"


No I'm not pregnant, and no I'm not married!

(Btw, I learnt recently that single mums, ie unmarried, excluding divorced or widowed, are not entitled to the three months of maternity leave..)

Can't imagine my shock and disgust and disappointment upon hearing that?? I know I put on visible weight lately, I know my short hair doesn't help slim my face, but looking pregnant?! Ok la, to be fair to my colleague, I was wearing my big ugly office jacket over a punjabi suit. But that was one huge wake-up call man..

There was a similar incident one day in 1999 when I walked past Mother on my way in, just back from a buffet dinner. She went, "You look pregnant.. Haha!" That was about the time I started putting on weight after leaving JC, also about the time when I became more conscious of my tummy..

I must map out a fitness plan and ACT ON IT! (And steer clear of the pineapple tarts Mother is making now..)

A thought came to me yesterday: some people who are obviously capable can be so ignorant in using simple tools like ppt, word, and even phone directory! There are some obscure IT stuff - like mapping network drive - that I help out where I can but simple things like printing ppt notes page?! I don't understand! And I actually allow myself to be bombarded with "how do you print this?" and "what's ABC's number?" (for the nth time - can't you just take it down?!)

End of grumbles, now to an exciting part. Had to staff a lunch function yesterday and on the way there, the five of us girls were talking about one of the guests who was the grandson of this tycoon, youngest of all the guests. But we all had no idea how he looked like. Then, he arrived. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I spoke to a cute guy, even though it was just "hi, you are?" :p But later as an observer in the discussion, I realised that he wasn't super cute; he just had that focused look in his eyes that spelt purpose. We were, or at least I was, sufficiently impressed.

Had to get my camera back from YX in the evening cos I wanted to take pictures of my neighbourhood today. Safety barriers etc are starting to make this place unrecognisable! Was supposed to go to Altivo with the seniors but ended up at Loof with YX etc. The place was amazingly full of familiar faces! Knew them at different occasions but now many of them were working at the same place; we are a small community!

Escaped when it got way too stuffy. Had supper with YX, JD and new friend Chris at TCC at Cineleisure until it closed. Conversation among four of us the whole night seemed to hover about homosexuality. YX and JD seemed particularly prone to it! Be careful, guys.. If maternity leave doesn't apply to single mums, I don't see how it can apply to you, heh! :p

Oh also talked about MBTI. They thought I was extroverted. So did others according to my Johari window. But going by definition of I and E in MBTI, I'm actually more I! And it isn't cos I'm narcissistic! For proof, read this.. Wikipedia has become my new pet site..

That wasn't the end of last night. Received an sms before I went to bed, guy friend (identity protected) went for a full body massage and had to strip to nothing. The therapist was in his thirties and rubbed EVERYWHERE. You can guess my immediate thought, I'm sure :p I'm curious: will a heterosexual guy (not nec homophobic) react due to touch or will he not cos it's a male therapist? Friend said it should be a body reaction, ie physiological not sexual.. Makes sense. But if it is a female therapist, well well!

Friday, 24 February 2006

All the teh and kopi talk

Suddenly recall something I wanted to write a while ago. Couple of weeks back, Tok sent an email to KLK about Singlish. I didn't have time to read the long page but my attention was drawn to "Ordering at a coffee shop". All my life, I stay right above one but have no idea what all the terms below mean! I'm the kind who orders "ice tea no sugar no milk" instead of teh peng kosong, which I learnt rather recently :p Anyway, I still have questions, in italics.. Enlighten me if you will..

Ordering at a coffee shop:
Teh - (Hokkien) Tea (mf: with condensed milk??)
Teh-O - (Hokkien) Tea without milk (mf: but with sugar??)
Teh-C - (Hokkien) Tea with evaporated milk. The C here means the
"Carnation" brand of evaporated milk. (mf: never knew about the C..)
Teh-Peng - (Hokkien) Tea with ice. (mf: um, with/without condensed/evaporated milk??)
Teh-Poh - Weak or thin tea. (mf: with less condensed/evaporated milk??)
Teh-packet or Teh-pao - Tea to go. (mf: I suppose I can choose any kind of tea!)
Kopi - (Hokkien) Coffee
Kopi-O - (Hokkien) Coffee without milk
Kopi-C - (Hokkien) Coffee with evaporated milk. The C here means the
"Carnation" brand of evaporated milk.
Kopi-Peng - (Hokkien) Coffee with ice.
Kopi-packet or Kopi-pao - Coffee to go.
Kopi-gao - Thick coffee.
Kopi-poh - Weak or thin coffee.
Kopi-siu-dai - Coffee with less sugar.

And, I must add my fav: kosong :)

Monday, 20 February 2006

I'm happy!

I just am, since Sat which I spent with myself. Started with a refreshing jog around my neighbourhood instead of the park, taking in the different sights and sounds. Household chores were followed by a more exciting agenda - utilising my expiring Isetan voucher :p Richer by two pretty tops and some undies :)

Tiny unhappy incident: Was almost cheated by this sales attendant. I passed her a pair of trousers I just tried and asked her to fetch me a new piece while I changed out of something else. She returned with a folded pair. I checked, saw a bit of roughness on a hem and asked for another. When she said that was the last piece, I asked for the one I tried earlier. Then, guess what? She said the one she brought back was the one I tried! Fumes! She folded it, obviously out to cheat! Of course I didn't buy from her!

But bliss dominated my day, bouyant through some unknown forces. Carried on browsing but nothing else caught my fancy. Was an hour too early for 310pm movie so I returned to an empty flat, filled it up with music and lazed around until it was time for the 515pm show in the neighbourhood theatre. I'm proud to announce that I FINALLY CAUGHT FEARLESS! And it was good, I like :)

Some strange cheer must have gripped me on the way back; did something stupid: I waved and said hi to this little mynah walking on the pavement towards my direction. The poor bird turned quickly away! Oops I didn't mean to scare him :p

Went to bed happy and woke happy too. Dressed myself up like a lollipop (sweet white blouse with peach capris) and left for KTV with CY. Sang for 3.5hours until they chased us away :p Ballroom lesson was tiring but happiness still ruled; nothing was getting me down last weekend! Got back just in time for Catch Me If You Can on TV, I like Tom Hanks' character :) Again, slept happy.

Today, still happy though nose is crap in the office. But I'll survive!

Oh, if you know me enough, pls help build my Johari's window here? Otherwise, you can view it here. But no viewing before building ok, so that your opinions are not influenced by others'.

It's Mon but it'll be a happy week for everyone, really :)

Friday, 17 February 2006

First medical check

That was Sunday. Lesson learnt? Old women have lower risk of getting breast cancer. Cos she checked my boobs and not Mother's! :p I didn't dare watch when she drew blood from Mother; didn't want to scare myself before it was even my turn, at which I looked away and talked to distract myself.. It was surprisingly rather painless! But my arm was numb for a while.. Also peed into a bottle, and the day after, scooped some poo poo into a tinier bottle for tests. Did the poo thing in office toilet so I actually carried poo in a bottle (in a zip lock bag) in my bag that day, ewe :p

Received the report yesterday. Everything is fine except that my cholestrol level is 201 when it should be less than 200 - doc said it was ok to exceed a little but I must watch it cos Mother's stood very high at 292 this year; she had almost 350 a couple of years ago! Could be hereditary.. And my white blood cell count was slightly lower than average range, possibly due to the cold I had last weekend but no worries there. Doc also advised me to get Hep B vaccination.

Mentioned my gastric pains, which could happen even if I have my meals on time. Doc said yes, it could be bacteria and no, yoghurt wouldn't help the stomach, just good for intestinal movement. Further, I would need to do a scope to check my stomach. YUCKS - had a scope in my nose before, don't think I could survive a scope 30cm into me *.* Decided to monitor my stress levels instead for the time being..

Oh, Mother is going for a cardiogram, or something like that - I'm translating from what doc told us in Mandarin.. Just a precaution cos she complained about her heart - gave me a shock when she told doc that day cos she didn't tell me before. I'm expected to cough up $150-180 for that, sighs.. My expenditure this month is on the high side now..

Eh wait, she just told me she would cancel dialup subscription unless I foot the bill, cos the desktop is spoilt and "no one is using already". Hey, what about me?? I don't mind paying cos it isn't ex, $10 or so. But I can't get over how she could pay for MZ and YQ but not me! They don't even pay her medical bills or leisure expenses, and MZ even asks for reimbursement for buying newspapers (70cents) when she reads it too! And I'm not the only one with an income in this household lor! Total crap..

Anyway, just found out today that the contractor had brought in the materials and the first drilling etc for the precinct would be 1 Mar, yeah yeah! But my block will only be upgraded starting in Nov, cos they're starting with the LUP. At least I know that mine is the first of five blocks undergoing MUP. Happy enough :)

With the dust coming in from Mar, I'll make plans to move in with Grams and Aunt soon. Have also made arrangements to tap into cousins' wireless broadband, since they live a couple of doors now the same corridor. So.. Cancel dialup if you wish! Haha! :p

Thursday, 16 February 2006

My doll

Barbie dolls were all the rage when I was a kid. All the girls watched the adverts on TV and everyone wanted one to play with. The luck ones got them all; the not-so-lucky ones got at least one, with a change of clothes of course; the unlucky ones didn't get at all.

I could be classified between the not-so-lucky and the unlucky: I had a pseudo Barbie.

It was at a shopping mall with some relatives. The shelves of Barbies were beckoning but the adults were saying they were too ex - think the prices were $40 and up. Then someone took this doll in a yellow gown, much cheaper at $15 or $30. Someone relented. Someone paid for it.

I opened the box when we got back and realised it wasn't a Barbie doll at all. The face looked different, and with my limited English ability, I knew the box didn't say it was Barbie. I had some old Barbie clothes and shoes handed down from some relatives or their friends, and they didn't fit my doll. I understood then that she was the best I could have so I made do with it anyway, and asked my grandmother to make clothes that would fit her. But I recall feeling ashamed bringing it to friends' place to play cos they said it wasn't a Barbie; I felt marginalised.

Still, I called her Barbie and had fun with her on my own, trying to stitch pieces of cloth together into new clothes for her. And forcing her big feet into the dainty Barbie shoes I inherited from somewhere. She had horrible hair like me so I trimmed it once. Etc..

Then I grew up. And she became a distant memory.. Until late Dec last year when Mother dug her out from the storeroom..

She felt so fragile in the same but bigger pair of hands. Her gown was still soft though a bit torn - think I tore it accidentally many years back. Her face was still pretty as I knew it but also looking weary.

I decided that it was time to part with her. Took a few quick photos and left the bag with Mother before the impulse to pick her up again could overcome me. Feeling a bit sad that she had come to such an ending..

I'm thinking of SHE's song Bu Xiang Zhang Da now..

Recently, after procrastinating for months, I also dumped my worn Nikes of four years, the dark silver pair with the magnetic flaps over the laces, dated winter 2001/2-Jan 2006..

Well, I learn. I learn that there has to be a physical end to everything. I've said goodbye to many things and many people, especially in the recent 3-4 years. But I know I'll remember; memories may be pushed to the furthest corner, but they never die.

Saturday, 11 February 2006


我在犹豫;这一章应该写在main blog 还是雨中韵?前者写实,后者虚中带实。这篇,算是亲身感受吧?

“青春若有张不老的脸 但愿它永远不会改变
许多梦想总编织太美 跟着迎接幻灭”







mf doesn't feel well

So I'm in now.

Mother is cutting some kind of vegetables now. She just said she bought three bunches of them - three big bunches - for 30cents. Yes, S$0.30. Incredible!! Anyway she's still talking intermittently.. I shall be a passive listener as I type :p

About my nose, I stopped using the nasal spray two weeks ago in preparation for a skin patch test on Wed. As expected, I reacted to all the stuff they used on me! After listening to the doc for a while, I signed my name on the dotted line and became #111 of a clinical trial on sublingual immunotherapy for dust mite allergies.

It's a double blind trial meaning both doc and patient have no idea which group the latter falls into - treatment or placebo. Have a 33% chance of being in the placebo group but I'm taking it anyway, so desperate I am to relieve myself of this permanent cold that developed 15years back for no reason. The drug is already in use but this is the first time they're testing on purely Asian population. Or something like that.. I'll start in two weeks after a final round of testing.

So I'm on antihistamines now, limited relief for the past two days. Today, my nose is telling me this may be more than the usual allergic reaction - much too violent. I walked in a drizzle yesterday, and sat under a fan during supper. Perhaps I've caught a chill.. That's bad!! =(

Anyway, I'm just back from a haircut with Na. Shorter and cuter than the last cut! :) Think I'll go shorter the next time.. Bought some baby hankies to blow my nose with on Dan's advice. It really is softer and gentler on my nose and upper lip! Esp upper lip, so red that Moh thought I needed to redo my "lipstick" *.*

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

A reason to be happy at 330pm midweek

Eve was washing an apple in the basin outside and I commented on it being a beautiful apple. When I came back after filling my hot flask, she offered me half the apple!

Delightfully sweet, both the apple and my colleague, a cute mama figure - I feel loved :)

PS: Feeling weird writing "Eve washing apple" :p

Photo rojak

Documenting the last two birthday presents of my 26th:

1) Very cute notepad from Hup, Sito and CW when they went to Korea and Bangkok in Dec

The whole gift pack contained a number of souvenirs from them from various trips but I'm biased toward my birthday gift :p The other cute stuff are playing with Meh et al while I'm away from bed, and I'm using the Laotian bag and (re-gifted but fabulous) Clarins self tanner (on my pasty legs)!

2) A book from Tok, an interesting read thus far, especially this particular chapter that I just finished. Maybe I'll write about it, maybe I'll not..

And now the random CNY photos!

Can't tell what they are? Prawn and crab mince made into the shape of a goldfish! Steamed, so they were very healthy (read: mf ate a lot :p)

The dragon had already gathered to arrange the mandarin oranges into some auspiscious word by the time I got there. After that, the dragon - what? - floated/ swam/ flew away.. *snap* Danced! It danced away to the beat of the drums and the other dong dong qiang instruments..

A random shot of two girls at a farewell party for one of my primary school classmates on Sunday. Somehow, this photo reminds me of this:


I hope you're smiling happily like the cat (and me!) :)

Sunday, 5 February 2006

Dong dong qiang!

Just came back from my office's CNY gathering. So many kids around! HK's daughter of 15months was very shy and didn't warm up to us. But suddenly she was ok with Chief. Hence the theory went that at her height, she could only see people's legs and so she must have mistook Chief's legs for HK's! True enough, later she realised her mistake and started crying *sio sio*

Recall that last time when Mother was looking after Ting and Peggy, they used to hug my legs too. So I wasn't too shocked when one day in some mall, I felt a tiny impact on my leg and something wet on contact, turned and saw a tiny kid with saliva everywhere and the mother chasing a distance behind! Very cute actually :p

Also had yu sheng, Dor and LH poured out the ingredients saying related auspicious stuff before everyone dug in and tossed the yu sheng everywhere! Means we're all one year older now.. And I didn't object this year when Chris told his daughter to say hi to the "aunties" *.*

Feeling rather tired and sleepy by mid afternoon. But when I got back I was very awake! In fact, I just spent some ten minutes downstairs watching the last of a dragon dance - is that what you call it? Not lion dance but dragon dance? Anyway, took some pictures, shall do a photo blog one of these days :)

Think this was the first time I saw such lion/dragon dance since I came back. Last time I would run downstairs at the first sight or sound of an approaching troupe. All the kids of the neighbourhood would gather very quickly accompanied by parents and the whole scene would be loud and cheery. But just now there was no such crowd. The audience comprised mostly of uncles and aunties already at the coffee shop and there weren't many kids at all. How different.. Sighs..

Saturday, 4 February 2006

Bits of wisdom amid the fluff of mf-ism?

Thought I said something insightful earlier, that the unhappy things in life get to us more than the happy moments, even though we may be happy most of the time. Much like how it's unfortunate that negative news get reported more often in the tabloids, which are, again unfortunately, more read by the masses, colouring people's perceptions, just because they are more juicy and exciting read for many.

So we must know to weigh these happies and unhappies appropriately, ie to think more of the good and quit dwelling on the bad, which will only eat into our very soul and make us feel miserable. It's only human to feel more hit by the negative stuff, but I believe we can turn the thoughts around to focus more on the good things. Then we're happy. Then we infect happiness on people aruond us. Then everyone is happy! :)

Ok, getting fluffy again.. Going to bed.. But wait, one last bit: I'm not saying we should forget the bad totally. No, cos they can be lessons for us, teaching us what not to do next time. Ok, goodnight..

It doesn't feel like Sat today

Don't know why though.. Anyway, also don't feel like writing proper paragraphs now, lazy.. So..

1) YX, Kel and I watched I Not Stupid Too last night - good show! All the way I kept thinking Mother should watch this show and maybe she would shut up sometimes :p

2) Was very tired last night and I don't know why. Fell asleep in Kel's car and he had to wake me when we reached my place. Then I overslept this morning and missed my jogging time plus was almost late for lunch.. Nvm, meeting Insp to jog tomorrow morning :)

3) Lunch was with YX, Kok and YS. Went to the dim sum place SZ brought us last time. We chose three of 16 dim sum items - for exclusion :p It was a lot to eat!! YS is going back to London tomorrow - safe flight and have fun!

4) Learnt something new today: you can puke when you swim too much! *.*

5) I was saying how I would associate people with animals sometimes. Eg Tok is a mouse and Siok is a sushi - um, sushi is not an animal but nvm! So they asked me about them. I decided that YX = deer, Kok = coyote (!) and YS = fox! Then YS said MS = cow, cos of the way he talked - damn funny!

6) We were trying to get Kok to join us to go clubbing next time but he said in his usual way that he would rather go KTV, the dodgy kind! "Next time take my CPF money and go there every night ah!" And the other two agreed to go together.. Then I were to go with them, I would just be mistaken for the cleaning auntie.. My friends ah..? ~.~

7) Feeling thin today, though I just had wholemeal bread with pork floss for dinner :p Cos (1) my dressing today minimised my butt, (2) noticed that my radish calves are more like (plump) carrots now, and (3) I learnt that I have friends weighing more than 70kg! Heh heh, another reason to keep myself happy :)

8) Strange TV advert of a new condo near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Rather, strange selling point: you have nature, including all sorts of animals and fluttering stuff and insects, as neighbours! Man, I don't want to stay there!

9) Remember the dead fisherman in my bro's fish tank? The bigger fish knocked him over couple of days back! Then I saw a tiny figure in the boat and realised that the old man couldn't have belonged to the boat cos he was too big for it! YQ just put him on the boat and hid the tiny figure who looked rather plain (and who must be dead too!)

Omg, some getai just started downstairs! Chun feng ta wen shang le wo de lian..! Gaaar..

PS: It's the 7th day of CNY - ren ri! Happy birthday! :)
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