Tuesday, 30 March 2010

School dinner

Last night's dinner at the school turned out to be an enjoyable experience. We were served traditional Teochew food like Buddha Jumps over the Wall, steamed pomfret, 8-treasure duck and my favourite yam dessert, orh nee.

The school's Chinese Orchestra provided entertainment while we chatted and munched our way through the night. The caterers did a great job, the 500+ guests must have left feeling satisfied.

Longetivity lotus buns for us to bring home.

Before dinner started, I brought CH for a walk-about in the school garden that I work on with the school kids every Wednesday. Some of the plants like the cucumber, basil and corn are doing well.


Sweet basil

Sweet corn

Overview of school garden

Unfortunately some of the vegetables that we planted are showing signs of distress like the eggplants (below) which had remained stunted.

It's the same scenario for some vegetable seeds that we had sown earlier. I suspect some areas do not receive sufficient sunlight that is so essential for plant growth.

Looks like we'll have to grow shade-loving plants like yam or banana instead.

Monday, 29 March 2010


I must be thinking of YK when I decided to cook duck on impulse last Sunday. Roasted duck is YK's flavour of the month but I doubt anyone with a small apartment kitchen can pull that one off successfully. The next best thing would be to make Teochew braised duck which happens to be my father's favourite dish.

Naturally, I started missing YK while waiting around for the duck to cook but I figured I can always cook another one when he returns next week.

There is more room for improvement of course. The meat wasn't as tender as I had expected even after almost 2 hours of braising. It also wasn't savoury enough (which is perfect for my parents) as I had held back on the salt when I saw how dark the sauce was. Dark soya sauce is, afterall, all colour and not much taste.

The extra effort of basting the duck in a caramel and dark soya sauce mixture for 15 minutes paid off handsomely because I ended up with a dark beauty of a duck. Adding pandan leaves was also a good idea because it lends such a nice fragrance to the dish.

Galangal (blue ginger), garlic and pandan leaves.

I had to haul the duck out just under 2 hours when I saw how thick and gooey the gravy had become. And I was afraid that adding more water will only ruin the taste. On hindsight, I should have added some stock (or water) and let the duck simmer away for another 30 minutes until the meat fall off the bones.

I must say, the smell of duck braising is quite heavenly. Rusty must have been intoxicated with the aroma because he spent the afternoon sleeping in the kitchen.

So typical!

I stopped by Ikea to grab a piece of plank. Luckily, I found one very quickly in the 'as is' corner for only $5. Perfect!

On the way out, I decided to take a peek at Ikea food market. Yikes, I emerged with smoked salmon, frozen black pepper salmon steak, four cans of beer, a block of cheese and a pack of sausage. The damage? $70!

Yup, so typical! Tsk Tsk Tsk.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

A fun evening

We've been lucky lately. Last Friday, best friend treated us to the movie Alice in Wonderland. This Friday, we had free tickets to attend Timbre Rock n Roots live concert under the stars. We had such a great time rocking to Buddy Guy, Gipsy Kings and Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

Buddy Guy

Gipsy Kings

Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

The turnout was good- largely expats and the mature crowd. Heineken, being one of the sponsors, did a roaring business all night.

I must thank Melinda for making this happen.

Next week, we've been invited to a charity dinner at the primary school that I do voluntary work for. The teacher is so good to me, she bought us a pair of tickets. It's not cheap but I heard the dinner's good. I can't wait!

We're really blessed to have such great friends. I hope I don't jinx our lucky streak by gushing about it.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Pests and pet

We've been plagued by ants lately. Everyday, I return home to find a trail of ants marching across the kitchen floor. They crawl up the wall and invade my living room too. They're everywhere!

I'm against killing ants because they're not all that pesky but I surrendered and bought a pack of ant killer that day. They are supposed to work this way: Ants feed from the bait and the contaminated ants carry the bait back to the nest, killing the queen and the nest.

I laid the small discs, which contain little granules, in their favourite hangouts. They must be quite delicious because the ants started congregating at the disc. I felt a pang of guilt and decided not to look at them partying away.

Rusty must have been attracted to the disc on the kitchen floor because he started having stomach troubles yesterday. I went home to find the balcony door open and pools of vomit in the patio. That smart fella had used his little snout to open the sliding doors (mind you, they're heavy!) so that he could go outside to throw up in the garden.

There was a pile of vomit in the house as well but that poor thing must have felt really unwell, he completely lost his appetite. And he had the runs when I walked him yesterday. He's fine now and is back to his greedy self.

CH thinks it's the shishamo (grilled fish) we fed him that night. I suspect it has everything to do with the ant bait. He must have eaten the small granules that fell out from the plastic disc. I feel terrible that I had completely overlooked and allowed my dog to be (mildy) poisoned.

Oh well. I've been told that Rusty is getting too chubby, maybe he'll lose a few grams from this ordeal.

Friday ramblings

YK called me at 11.45pm last night. I was about to get very annoyed until I heard his cheery voice. Well, my customer from India jolted me awake at 11pm the night before which was so irritating. Anyhow, someone with aged parents and young children like me will always keep the phone on 24/7 in case of emergencies.

I managed to ask, "Is everything ok?"

"You're sure none of my fishes have died?", he replied. "Don't bluff!"

Oh why would I lie? I was too sleepy to conduct a decent conversation. He was sleepy too, so we hung up quickly.

Now that he's away, I have more opportunity to pamper my younger son. I know how neglected second-borns are because I am also one.

For a change, SK is in charge. He tells me what he likes to eat for dinner and I make his favourite dishes. This week, we've had grilled shishamo, teriyaki salmon, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) and cereal prawns. Next week I'll cook cod because that's his favourite fish.

Last weekend, we visited several fishfarms and then stopped by Cold Storage to get his favourite ice cream and desserts. He's been telling me all about his baby shrimps and aquatic plants in his tanks.

A week has flown by already. Two more weeks and YK will be home, and our little family will be complete once again.


Yup, no post today. I've been fielding phone calls from all directions. My colleague is on vacation and the phone has been ringing off the hook.

It's one of those days when everyone conspires to call at the same time, asking for and about everything under the sun. From urgent quotes and special requirements to why their vegetable seeds are not germinating... oh, just about anything they can think of.

Outside of business, I am also trying to help a friend adopt a lovely chocolate labrador. I would love to adopt it myself if I have the space and time. I have neither, of course. So no big dogs for me.

Oh, it's getting late. I'm glad the workday is almost over. I look forward to having my colleague back at work. I need a break!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I received a message from YK's friend last night. He asked if he could pop by to check on the tank.

"Please come!", I said. The chiller has been acting wonky lately and the corals are beginning to look lethargic. Some toppled the other day and I gingerly propped them up again.

He arrived at almost 10pm and started shifting corals around so that they don't sting each other or get bleached under the lights. I hovered behind anxiously while he checked the water quality and declared all is well. Phew!

Gosh, looking after someone's pet is a big responsibility! Good thing YK's fishes and corals are big and strong, hence pretty resilient compared to SK's teeny weeny crystal shrimps (below).

These shrimps are cute but less than a cm long. They hide behind aquatic plants and driftwood, I would probably need a microscope if I had to do a headcount everyday!

I had another visitor this morning, this time at the office. Who could be knocking on the door at 8am, I wonder? It was the security guard. I thought he was joking when he asked if he could buy me breakfast someday which I declined of course. What a surprise to see him standing there with a packet of chwee kueh!

Now, before you start developing funny thoughts, he's just a kind old man who is nice to everybody. He greets me with a big cheery smile everytime I drive in through the gate and waves goodbye when I leave. He loves his job and more importantly, he brightens up everyone's day. In a way, he makes life interesting for himself too. Life is what you make of it. It can get really boring if you do nothing but stand by the gate all day.

Oh yah, I must remember to thank him for the delicious breakfast this morning. And I will tell him not to bring me anymore in future. My own breakfast is still lying on my desk. It will become my lunch.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Shoulda...coulda...doodah doodah

When we moved out of my parent's farm to live in the suburbs, I had visions of myself doing so many wonderful things.

I thought I could lead a more active lifestyle, like go running everyday. Afterall, we have a fantastic network of footpaths leading to the reservoir and the beach.

I thought I could bring Rusty to East Coast Park every weekend. He must love running on the sandy beach. We could play catch and get some exercise together.

I thought I could ditch my car and take a train to town anytime I fancy. You know, do my bit to save the Earth...

Later when CH moved into our neighbourhood, I rubbed my hand with glee and dreamt of a million things we could do together.

We could stroll to the charming cafe down the road for Sunday brunch or have late-night roti prata and teh tarik at the 24-hour Restoran.

We could motivate each other and not miss a day of running. We could pack cheese and wine and have more picnics by the beach. And we could catch a movie in the city when our chores are done.

Alas, I am ashamed to admit that I had done very little of all that. I guess it's never too late to start but really, some of the ideas are not very practical.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


YK has called back twice in 5 days, all very brief and hurried calls. Here's a typical conversation:

Me : Hello. Everything ok there?
YK: Yah. Is everyone alive? (referring to all his pets of course)
Me: Yes. All alive and kicking.
YK: Sure? Even my Naoko? (his favourite fish)
Me: Yes. The Laboutei, your corals and doggie, they're all fine.
YK: Ok, gotta go.
Me: What about you? What have you been doing?
YK: Tell you when I return. Call charges very expensive. Byeee.


I didn't think it was necessary to tell him about the chiller incident yesterday. The chiller, which delivers cool water to his tank to keep the corals alive, stopped working in the afternoon. Thank goodness it was nothing major, just a loose plug. Luckily I was quite vigilant.

I spent the weekend cleaning up the house. It seems alot cleaner (and quieter) without YK around. I've chucked his favourite shaggy rug into the storeroom to minimise dust.

SK is quite happy that I have more time to bring him to the aquariums. While his brother is crazy about marine fish, he prefers ro rear crystal red shrimps (CRS).

As you know, I'm against keeping animals in captivity but I can't stop them from pursuing their hobbies.

According to them, these creatures are better off under their care than living in over-crowded tanks in the shop. Well, they have a point there too. But it's good to know that they both love their animals and are very disciplined when it comes to taking care of their own tanks. Of course when they're away, their hobbies become mine.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Cat's in the cradle

On the way to the airport, YK said, "I can't believe I'll be away from home for 3 weeks. That's so long!"

"Remember you were away for 3 days during the last school trip? Now it's 3 weeks. Two years later, it'll be 3 months (in-camp basic military training), then 3 years if you study overseas. Finally, 30 years if you move out of my house for good."

We arrived at the airport, he hopped off and said a quick goodbye. I felt my eyes well up with tears. I guess a mother will never get used to this.

I returned home and started to tidy up his books and paper strewn all over the table. I wonder how he thrives in all this clutter? I entered his room and pulled up the blinds. While he prefers his room to be dark like a cave, I like it bright and airy.

I'll be taking the opportunity to sterilise and clean up his room while he's away. He will return to find his wardrobe so well organised, he won't ever want to mess it up again.

With big brother out of the house, SK has invited some friends over today. They'll swim, play games and may even sleep over (not in YK's room of course). I've stocked up on snacks, pizza and bread so that they won't go hungry.

YK must be up in the air now as I write. I hope he remembers to call me from India.

For some reason, I've been thinking of the song "Cat's in the cradle". Not surprising really because the song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son.

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home dad?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok"
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and said with a smile
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then dad
You know we'll have a good time then

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

What's going on?

Nothing much is going on in my life at this moment. The most talked about event is YK's school trip. After attending many briefings and getting all his shots (typhoid, H1N1 and tetanus) done, YK will be leaving for India tomorrow morning.

Being a dutiful mother, I helped him change some Indian rupees, buy travel-size toiletries and learn to take care of his marine tank. I also cooked him his favourite seafood pasta for dinner last night as they will be eating vegetarian food in the village for the next 3 weeks. He'll certainly be more svelte when he returns.

I'm glad the mozzie didn't make an appearance last night, so I managed to sleep peacefully. It helped that I changed the sheets before bedtime. I suspect Rusty loves the smell of freshly laundered sheets because he slept so soundly, I almost didn't realise he was sharing my bed.

Remember the lost dogs I blogged about recently? One of them who wandered into the residential estate was sent to SPCA. I hope he has found his owner. The other young dog is still living behind the school yard. My neighours and I take turn to feed him daily. He's still shy and keeps his distance though he surprised me by nuzzling my hand yesterday.

Oh, I must thank Xiang Long for recommending The Element: how finding your passion changes everything by Ken Robinson. I'm halfway through the book and I find it so relevant. I would recommend it to everyone, especially parents who wish to understand their kids better. It's an eye opener.

I forgot to mention that Simply Her magazine featured the organ stickers in their April issue. This morning, I sold some copies to a tourist who saw it in the magazine. She thinks it is a great product for her young children and other kids back home. She may even become a distributor one day.

Of course I had meant to start my exercise regime two days ago. But it's been so hard to get out of bed lately, all I want to do is make a cup of coffee instead of heading out the door so early in the morning. I feel guilty when I see people exercising yet I'm not motivated to do anything about it. That's just life.

Monday, 15 March 2010

The small fly

A small fly* has been bothering me, giving me sleepless nights. I wake up grouchy and my day is ruined. But I am fighting a losing battle because it attacks me when I am at my weakest.

I leave the windows wide open at night to let the cool air in. It sneaks in stealthlessly when I am alseep and helps itself to a buffet spread across the bed. It sinks its proboscis into my feet, then the thighs, before tackling my exposed arms. I feel the itch and stir in my sleep.

When it has had its fill, it hovers around my ear to tell me it is satiated. I slap instinctively and hurt my palms. It takes two steps back and the buzzing stops.

Just when I think it is safe to sleep again, it comes back with a vengeance. I am wide awake now. I turn on the lights, eyes hurting from the glare, to see the blood sucker zipping about. I swipe my arms wildly and it disappears from my view. I wear my spectacles and find it teasing me an arm's length away. "Come get me!"

I chase it around until I throw my hands up in the air. This is ridiculous! Why am I wasting my precious sleep on a small fly?

I've lost the battle. I grab my pillow and move out to the living room. Rusty tags along and sprawls next to me on the couch. He falls asleep instantly while I toss and turn all night. I won't be bullied by a small fly, I will track it down when day breaks.

* ok, ok, it's a mozzie. Small fly sounds better than small mozzie right?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Missed the fun

There was a carnival afterall, at 7pm, after the dragonboat race. We should have stayed around ...

Dragonboat race

We walked 1.5km from our home to Bedok Reservoir anticipating an afternoon of fun at the dragonboat race between the Canadian and People Association's teams. We arrived at the venue to find the place rather quiet. There wasn't any carnival, food, beer or games and clowns!

Long walk to the park.

All we saw were some people milling around waiting for the race to begin. When it started to rain, we ran towards the shelter and sat amongst a bunch of bored racers.

The event slowly gathered momentum when the teams took their dragonboats out to the waters. We only managed to watch one race because I had to leave for dinner at my parent's.

I am not exaggerating when I say Rusty was the only attraction at the event.

At least he kept us amused.

He also made a toddler very happy...

And a couple of babes stopped by to cuddle him...

Thursday, 11 March 2010


By now, I am disgusted with Jack Neo and his antics. And I am equally disgusted with myself for reading every media report available about this affair. You see, I know men who are just like him and it makes me sick in the stomach seeing how things have turned out.

While it is not unusual for men to cheat, it is despicable for men like him to manipulate the women in his life to make himself look good. Men like him are purely manipulative, period.

Firstly, he used his clout to lure sweet young things into his web. Some may call them bitches or witches, but what if your own daughter or niece fell victim to a dirty old man like him? What a girl who is barely out of her teens need is education and guidance. Even older women can waver under the charm of a charismatic male and mistake lust for love.

Petunia wrote a very emotional piece about this which makes me recall the days when I was 20. It also makes me glad that she's doing everything she can to raise her teenage daughter up properly.

I received a marriage proposal from a colleague when I was 20 thinking it was for real. I had just started working as a proof reader in a publishing firm. He was an editor from India. He must have set eyes on me the day I walked in but I didn't notice one bit of course.

I don't think he lavished any special attention on me, even if he did, I wouldn't have known. One day, he told me his mother in India was critically ill. Her wish was to see him get married before her death. That was when he proposed to me.

I went home feeling extremely confused. Mum was even more bewildered and prompty sent her brother to 'settle' the problem once and for all. We all met up the next day. No wedding bells for BT!

On hindsight, that fella knew how conservative I was, so it was all an elaborate ploy to get me to consummate with him. How despicable! It made me more wary of men after that.

There was a constant stream of undesirable characters at the firm. The sweet-talking salesmen (who sold advertising space) were constantly hovering around to flirt with the girls. The next publishing house I worked with was no better. The middle-aged boss was a lecherous one who would lean really close at every opportunity for a cheap thrill. I avoided him at all cost. Needless to say, I quit soon after.

I was actually quite relieved when I met my ex-husband because I didn't have to deal with anymore unwanted attention. I could finally declare "Sorry, I'm already attached" when potential suitors called me at home.

What I'm trying to say is, at 20, I was naive and may find it difficult to fend off a predator like Jack Neo.

What's more terrible about the whole Jack Neo affair is how he had dragged his wife into the whole hullabaloo. It is an extremely humiliating and traumatising experience for her. She looks like a nice lady, she certainly doesn't deserve this. He should know better but no, he talked her into facing the press to garner sympathy.

I could be wrong but being the supportive wife that she is, she felt she needed to help him. One day, she will look back and feel extremely manipulated.

I know people like Jack who will cry and sob at the drop of a hat and make themselves look so sorry and pathetic. Yet they will not hesitate to drag their religious leaders, friends and spouse in to rally around and shield him. Men like him are extremely self-centered. They are cowards and bullies. Sadly, they don't change.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Oh dear

After an early morning meeting with a customer from India, I offered to drive him to his next meeting as he was already running late. He was grateful of course, especially since he isn't too familiar with Singapore.

I've been there before, so I dropped him off outside the office building and waved goodbye. After I left, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been presumptuous. I should have asked him for the address just in case the office is no longer there.

True enough, I checked later and found that they had recently moved to another building down the street. Oh dear, I had sent the poor guy to the wrong place! He must be cursing under his breath while rushing around in the sweltering heat.

I promptly texted him to apologise. He replied much later with a one-liner, "No issue."

I'm sure what he meant to say was "Need tissue! (to wipe the sweat pouring down my face)."

Oh well. I was just trying to be kind....

Maybe I need to read more to sharpen my wit and social skills.

I found this list of best-selling authors recommended by Elim Chew, a leading entrepreneur in Singapore. Some of you may find the list useful too.

Collins -- Good to Great; Built to Last; How the Mighty Fall
Lencioni -- Five Dysfunctions of Team
Godin -- Purple Cow; All Marketers are Liars; etc.
Smart -- Topgrading; Who
Buckingham -- First Break All the Rules; Now Discover Your Strengths
Arbinger -- Leadership and Self-Deception; Anatomy of Peace
Hall -- Jump Start Your Marketing Brain
Moore -- Crossing the Chasm; Inside the Tornado; Dealing with Darwin
Cialdini -- Influence; Yes!
Reichheld -- The Ultimate Question; The Loyalty Effect
Orfalea -- Copy This
Johnson -- Emergence; Everything Bad is Good for You
Krippendorf -- Art of the Advantage
Peters -- In Search of Excellence; Liberation Management; etc.
McKee -- Primal Leadership; Resonate Leadership
Wyly -- 1000 Dollars and An Idea
Travis -- Doing Business Anywhere
Perkowski -- Managing the Dragon; How I'm Building a Billion Dollar Business in China
Daniels -- Bringing Out the Best in People; Oops
Simon -- Hidden Champions of the 21st Century; Beat the Crisis
Allen -- Getting Things Done; Ready for Anything
Twist -- Soul of Money
Dijulius -- Secret Service; What's the Secret
Ries -- The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR; The Origin of Brands
Schwantz -- The Wedge; How to Get Your Competition Fired
Kurlan -- Baseline Selling; Mindless Selling
Rackham -- SPIN Selling; Rethinking the Sales Force; Getting Partnering Right
Bloom -- The Inside Advantage
Gilmore -- The Experience Economy; Authenticity
Daly -- Coaching Companies to Greater Sales & Profit
Lautenslager -- Guerilla Marketing in 30 Days
Holmes -- The Ultimate Sales Machine
Scott -- The New Rules of Marketing & PR; World Wide Rave
Ferrazzi -- Never Eat Alone; Who's Got Your Back
Alexander -- Making the Numbers; Topgrading for Sales
Burton -- Pricing with Confidence
Cecil -- Nurturing Customer Relationships
Flanagan -- Now, Go Sell Somebody Something
Cheng -- The Recession-Proof Business

Almost 40 books to read! I'm heading to the library now.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Finally, there is rain!

I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I woke up to see rain. What a welcomed relief! It was hot and stuffy when I went to bed last night, the rain really came out of the blue.

The parched fields will finally get quenched again and the bush fires will be squelched once and for all.

The rain will do wonders to the school garden of course. The vegetable seeds that the kids sowed last week should have germinated by now. I hope to see little spinach, lettuce and bai cai on the flower beds when I visit today.

We planted onions, cucumbers, lady's fingers, eggplant, basil and sunflowers too. These are thirsty plants that require lots of water. The kids will grow corn and radish today. We have a real edible garden going on at the school yard and the kids are overjoyed.

What we need now is the weather's cooperation.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Being responsible

Yesterday was an exceptionally busy day filled with deliveries, meetings, errands and chores. It started at 5.30am and ended at 10pm. I didn't even have time to walk Rusty at night, luckily CH brought him out while I rushed YK to the mall to get some urgent photos done for his visa application to India.

The only breather I took was at a 3pm meeting with a foreign supplier in a posh hotel cafe. In between bites of cheesecake, we were both complaining about our expanding waistline.

"I have no time to exercise!" she moaned.

I was quite surprised to hear that. She's my age but married with no kids, surely she has lots of free time after work?

Apparently I'm not well aquainted with their corporate culture. She gets home from a long day of work in Hong Kong but that's when her colleagues in Europe start work. She clears emails from the Europeans only to find more streaming in from colleagues in America. By the time she's done, it's bedtime.

"Can't you attend to them the next day?" I asked.

Technically she can. Then again, it will not reflect very well on her. If her boss in Hong Kong calls for a meeting in the morning, she would be too embarrassed to appear ill prepared.

Hence she stays up till late to keep herself updated on the going-ons across their global network.

I sat there thinking that while she has no responsibility over kids and pets, she channels all her energy into work. She travels around the world to build relationship with customers, something that I have not been able to do all these years.

In my case, work and kids are equally important. My pragmatic mum always says, having kids is a responsibility. I can't agree more. We sacrifice time, sleep, money and energy (sometimes our sanity) to raise our kids (even sulky teens) because it's our responsibility, not because we're expecting any rewards in return.

Anyone who says raising kids is rewarding must be suffering from some form of amnesia.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Marriage and affairs

After checking my blood pressure, my family doctor continued with our little chit-chat. Besides monitoring my health and well being, she is always concerned about my personal life.

All these years, she had seen my kids grow up and I have seen her 3 pregnancies. We often exchange notes about parenting.

"You're not planning to remarry?", she asked.

I told her even though CH and I have been dating for 5 years, we're happy with the status quo. She, on the other hand, is an advocate of a stable married life.

"Aren't you afraid that he may look for a young Vietnamese girl one day?"

Well, he's not the type. Besides, if that happens, life will just go on for me, with or without a man. I'm not too hung up on marriage.

I told CH about this little conversation and he said. "Married men also look for young women anyway."

Bingo! Recently news of the Jack Neo affair has set tongues wagging. Singapore's most successful film-maker confessed about his two-year affair with a model less than half his age. While the news left women reeling in disgust, it must have brought new hope to older men. Afterall, he is now the living proof that an (undesirable) 50-year-old married man can land a 22-year-old model.

Needless to say, delving in illicit affairs always results in unhappy endings. His girlfriend showed up at his home demanding to see his wife because she was upset that he had lied to her. People are just dying to know how the story will end. Maybe this episode will give him inspiration for his next movie. I'm sure it will be a big hit!

Old movies

When CH asked if I would watch the movie "They call her... Cleopatra Wong" produced in the 70s, I declined. But when he revealed that he had won tickets to 2 days of film classics at the Cathay Cinema, I decided to sit through two movies with him even though I am no film buff.

It turned out to be an interesting experience. The sound effects, dialogue and script of Bionic Boy left us chuckling. You see, the 'super boy' was running after villians the whole time. I dozed off several times and woke up each time to find him running after thugs. I could sleep through half the show and not miss a thing. Some viewers walked out midway because the show lacks sophistication.

The second movie, Cleopatra Wong, played to a larger and more enthusiastic audience. With the tagline "She purrs like a kitten and makes love like a siren. This side of the Pacific, she is the meanest, deadliest and sexiest secret agent.", I can understand why the turnout was good. The movie was not too bad actually, considering it was produced more than 30 years ago!

The lead actress Marrie who played Cleopatra was at the screening with some friends. She still looks good at 51. I challenged CH to get her autograph and here he is, grinning like a happy camper.

CH and Marrie Lee.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

What goes up...

... must come down!

Well, today's only half as good as yesterday. Some of my energy have fizzled out after I realise how unattainable (and expensive) my vision is. But I must keep the dream alive until I can afford to turn it into reality. It's not impossible.

Now, back to the real world. YK's exams finally ended yesterday. He'll be heading to India soon on a mission to help improve the lives of the villagers living in poverty. I got really excited when he rattled off the list of farming activities planned, like growing mushrooms, building a greenhouse and other community projects. I wish I could tag along.

If only YK were as enthusiastic about the trip as I am. He is worried that his precious marine creatures will not do well under my care. Honestly I know nothing about maintaining a marine aquarium. Whilst he has given me a host of instructions to follow, you certainly won't find me hovering over the tank all day like the way he does.

I can never be as eagle-eyed as YK when it comes to looking out for sick fishes or toppled rocks. I wouldn't know what to do when one fish terrorises the other. Well, they had better behave themselves when he is away! I don't need any more stress in my life.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Aw, so cute!

YK took a photo of Rusty wearing his cap and headphones.
I'm not saying this because Rusty is my pet but darn, that dog is cute!

A good day

Like most people, I have my good and bad days. On a bad day, I feel tired, sleepy and uninspired.

When it comes to a good day, I spring out of bed in the morning and can't wait to get things done. A whole lot of ideas would be racing around in my head, I feel like I can achieve anything! In fact, some of my most creative ideas (not all were good ones) were hatched on a good day.

Today is a good day and I'm so stoked. There are so many things I want to do to improve the business and my life. The vision is so clear in my head, I want to turn those dreams into a reality!

Now if you would excuse me, I would like to go back to the drawing board and pen down my thoughts before I stumble out of bed tomorrow and find myself having a bad day.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lost dogs

I have a soft spot for dogs. I can spot them from miles away. To me, all dogs are adorable. If a cute guy walks by with his dog, I would notice the dog first. I make friends with all the doggies in my neighbourhood but I can never remember their owners.

I walk my dog twice a day, so I come across alot of them, even lost ones. There are two lost mongrels in the neighbourhood. One is a shy young dog with a black and white furry coat. He lives behind a large school yard. He looks happy and healthy but I have never gotten close enough because Rusty doesn't like him very much.

The other is a handsome spotted one who wears a collar and looks well fed. I've seen him wandering around looking for food. I hope he can find his way home like the other big brown dog hanging around outside the condo last week.

The first time I found a lost dog, I brought it home without thinking very hard. It was a mistake of course. Our apartment is too small to house two dogs, even temporarily. Rusty didn't like him invading his territory. Both dogs started peeing all over the house. I kept the lost dog in the patio and he barked so much, it annoyed the neighbours. I let him in and he jumped on the sofa and the bed. The kids wanted it out of the house.

Luckily my neighbour took over. It was sent to the police station and then to SPCA where he was reunited with the owner. Phew.

I've heard that dogs sent to SPCA will be put up for adoption. If no one claims them after a period of time, they will be put to sleep.

That explains why I am not calling the SPCA. I certainly don't wish to be the one giving them a death sentence. I think the dogs are better off living in our neighbourhood for now. Maybe some compassionate person will take them in. Afterall, we have lots of kind hearted people feeding the stray cats everyday.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Dry spell

With daytime temperatures hovering around 35 degree celcius, I return home every evening feeling lethargic and sticky. And I wake up in the morning feeling sweaty. Today a burning smell lingers in the air. When will the dry spell end?

The kids think I am joking when I tell them about the outbreak of bushfires in Singapore. They've heard of bush fires in Australia, California and Greece, but here in our little urban city? The fields have all turned brown from the lack of rain and the plants in my patio wither at the end of each day. At least they are lucky I give them two showers a day.

The heat has been getting to Rusty too. His tongue hangs out after a short stroll and he prefers the cool comfort of the home. He gravitates towards the air-conditioned rooms for his naps. When the heat gets too much for him to bear, he retreats to the toilet and lies on the cold floor until he hears the sound of aircon being turned on.

Yesterday I replenished the fridge with a bag full of oranges and juicy pears. When it was time for dinner, I craved for simple and light food. For the first time in years, I cooked the notoriously bland winter melon soup and was surprised that everyone liked it.

They didn't like the tangy cucumber salad as much as I did. I drenched the thinly sliced cucumber in a light vinegar/sugar dressing and topped with toasted sesame seeds. To me, it was really refreshing.

All the other dishes were bland and light. We had panfried Norwegian mackerel, cold tofu with savoury toppings and a dish of stir fried silk squash. The only spicy dish I cooked was sambal string bean. To my surprise, all the dishes were very well received.

When it comes to tackling the heat, eating light is the best thing to do.