Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back at 2012

My wish for all of you...
It's New Year's Eve today!!!

Year 2012 - It's been a good year for me that my health has been good, things goes smoothly in work (there was minor relationship problem with co-worker, but it's been getting much better now - hopefully can continue on), tried to attend the class twice (but too bad, not enough motivation to take exam), managed to own house (never dreamed of, but eventually it happened!) and sell the old house (found a good new owner), everything has gone smoothly during house renovation, buying things, etc., managed to attend the annual activities, such as: OCBC Cycling, Run for Hope, Three Steps One Bow (San bu yi bai), etc., celebrated 10th Wedding Anniversary and Baobei 10 years old Birthday, celebrated CNY at home sweet home in Jakarta with family members, went for holiday trip to Nepal and Bhutan (including birth place of Siddharta Gautama), went to Bali with friends, etc. This year, I've met new people, and known kindhearted strangers who has now become my friends and part of my life. I've learn from them too and because of them, I've purpose in life. Living faraway from city has changed my lifestyle too. 

After today, wish I have enough strength to carry on things I've planned, to actualize my dreams, to make things possible, and have enough fate to go to place I wanna go, and to meet people I wanna meet. 

And of course, pray that everyone, every sentient beings, will be happy with their lives too... Be avoided from any suffering and difficulties in life. Bless them with lots of health, luck, wealth, joy, and happiness. Let them live, love, laugh and be happy :) Sabbe satta bhavantu sukkhitata - Sadhu sadhu sadhu 

Happy New Year 2013 everyone!!! Have fun and be grateful with what you have now!!! Keep on moving...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sentimental value for 10 years old kid

Baobei's favorite shirt - Meaty Meat Burgers
Before - Year 2010 (still slightly bigger)
Now - Year 2012
This afternoon, after coming back from lunch outside, I moved and re-arranged my son's clothes from the old cabinet to the new wardrobe. Quietly, I removed his favorite clothes, that has turned small. I put it on the floor. He didn't realize that until I asked him which underwear that he didn't use it anymore. When throwing the unused one to the floor, he then noticed that his favorite shirt and pant was there, being chosen to be thrown away. He quickly asked me if I was going to throw that away. I said, yes. He wanted to take it back, but I faster took and sat on it, didn't let him to take it away.

It was my second try. Previously I also wanted to throw it away since the shirt has turned very small (while he's getting bigger and fatter), and also, his favorite pant, has many holes on it, even there was a torn as if bitten by the hungry rats. As he couldn't take it from me, he went away angrily, and guess what? He went to my room's toilet, and was crying..... sob sob.....

Baobei's favorite pants - Ben 10
He wore it on his Birthday - w/ his best friend
He did not come out until his father asked him to go out (he's kinda afraid of his father rather than me). He was hiding there for quite some time, maybe half an hour?? When he came out, his both eyes were full of tears and turned red. He kept sobbing while ironing his clothes (his father asked him to continue ironing his uniforms). Hahaha...

Wow... can't imagine!!! 10 years old boy... so deep sentimental feeling towards his favorite clothes!! OMG!!! I was thinking if I die one day, will he cry like that??? Or maybe not cry at all? (Too angry to cry... hahaha....). I think he won't forget this incident until he grows up. :P

Below photo is his another favorite's shirt...


Just now, I was refraining him from eating tidbits as it's already quite late. He was threatening me and said, "Since you throw my clothes away, I will eat it,"and he really ate it!!! Haiz.......

Friday, December 28, 2012

Year end wish come true :)

I'm loving it..... :)

Yayyy!!!! Finally we managed to buy the display cabinet for my liquor collection!!! :) I had thought about it even before we moved house, but was thinking where to put and what type of cabinet should we purchase.

Last Sunday, 3 of us went to furniture shop in Geylang, our usual place to find furniture. At there, we managed to buy Baobei's wardrobe. It's time for him to have a proper wardrobe (currently he was using the 2-tier plastic cabinet - had used it for 10 years and still in good condition. Thought of either using it for other purpose or give it to friend or neighbor who wants it. We also tried to find the display cabinet there, but the price was slightly expensive and the model wasn't what we wanted.

So we went to IKEA, the world's large furniture retailer, founded in Sweden, which mainly sells ready-to-assemble furniture. We'd been eyeing two display cabinets there, one for me, to put my liquor collections, and another one for Baobei, to put his Gundam collections :D

Yesterday, all furnitures were finally delivered to our house. Hubby spent his day assembling his giant Transformers' toys, that was how he called it haha.... Oh ya, we also purchased a study table for Baobei, but hubby will only assemble it this weekend.

Dadadada......... My display cabinet had been fit when I went back home from office. I brought Chinese cold dishes and burger back home after having dinner with PY at Chinatown, and hubby had good meal to recharge his energy back :D At 9pm he asked me where to put and he nailed the shelf to the wall so it wouldn't fall when it's opened. He also asked me how high I wanted to put each rack as it was all adjustable. Once finished, I put in my collections into it. Waaa.... So happy!!!! :) Finally my liquor has a new home, and not stayed inside the kitchen cabinet anymore hehehe.... :D

Thank you Hubby, for making my wish come true..... :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Happiness' - quoted from Eat Pray Love


'I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.' - Elizabeth Gilbert

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas :)

Happy Birthday Lily!!! :)
So, what did you do on Christmas Eve?

We didn't celebrate Christmas, but my sis-in-law's birthday instead :) And rather than eating turkey and ham, we had steamboat for dinner!!! With cold weather, it was perfect!!! We had crunchy chocolate Christmas  cake as her Birthday cake... Nyumm nyummm.....

On Christmas day itself, I woke up late. Time to laze around as we didn't have to work. We went to Hougang pasar to have breakfast. After that stayed at home whole day. Took a nap in the evening which caused me unable to sleep at night. Oh my.... At the end, I only had 5 hours to sleep last night...

This afternoon I went for my 2nd test. Just realized they took 7 tubes of my blood, felt like donating blood.... Kekeke... I submitted all the samples required and went back to office to work.

I think that's all for today :)

Hope you all had a wonderful time with friends and families :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Memories from high school time...

A2 Class Photo - 1996
This afternoon I packed my thing inside the book shelf and found a loose leaf file folder with the notes that I wrote when I was in the last year of senior high school. It was written it in Indonesian language. I will translate it into English here. I apologize in advance if the translation will be a bit weird, but I’ll try my best to make you all understand. Those written under the bracket ( ), is my current comment to explain something. It was written as follow:

Dearest: All my schoolmates

Hi! Thank you very much for giving your precious time for me to write on this album that consists of your impression about me and also some message written especially for me. I feel that it will be unfair if it’s only you who do the writing, therefore I'll do the same for you here.

For me, writing is not difficult, as long it is done sincerely from the heart. But before you continue reading, let me warn you first! When I write things, I will write it at least 3 pages unless if the situation does not allow (e.g. if my paper in the book had almost finished, paper provided was only 1 page, etc.) So, you have to obtain a strong willpower to read my long story with my beautiful handwriting hehehe….

Where should I start?

Alright! I start it from the history of this album.

The reason for me to make this special album is because now we’re in the last year of the senior high school. We have been through many things during the 3 years period in our lovely school. I would like to compile it in one place, which is here, so that once we get old and out from this school, it will leave me a good memories from the past :)

At first, I was thinking, what kind of album that is suitable for me to put our memorable photos together with your writings?

So... On 26th October 1995, after two days holiday, I supposed to go back to school, but end up, I added on another day off by myself because when I woke up, the clock had shown the time 07:32am. (We supposed to start school at 7am) Nah loh! At that time I was sooooo panic!!!. I forgot to tell my maid to wake me up!!! I was hysterical and shouted myself in my room, “Crazy! Crazy! OMG!!! What did I do? Why I woke up so late??? How???"

My father who was sitting in the dining room and read his newspaper could hear my voice and commented, “Who is crazy?? Sleep longer lah…!!!” I heard it embarrassingly. Luckily my father didn’t get angry, because I had been a good girl, never skipped the school before! So, for this once, I skipped the school for one day, would be okay right? Hehe....

I went to school during break time to meet my friends (fyi, my house was located very near from the school, it’s only 3 minutes walk), and also to borrow their notes.

After coming back from school, I took my photos collection out. Suddenly, I had some idea. How if I made the album using the loose leaf file folder (the one with many holes ring binder – where you can open it to add in or take out the paper from the folder), because I could keep lots of paper on it. But, what kind of paper huh? I was thinking of using a blank white paper but it would be too plain and boring!! Not attractive at all!!

Then I had an idea, how if I used colorful papers, as what you’ve seen here (I attached the letters inside the folder – front page. So they can read it then fill in my album). After that, I immediately took my motorcycle and went to Subur bookshop. There were many types of colorful paper, thin one and thick one. After many consideration, such as: thinner one would be easier to cut, could fit in more inside the file folder, lighter, and most importantly, cheaper - finally I bought the thin colorful papers there.

Reached home, I chose the suitable loose leaf file folder. During my 17th year’s birthday, some people gave me loose leaf folders as a present. It wasn’t easy to choose too! From few that I have, finally I choose the dark blue color, a present from sweet couple, Joselin & Benny. My priority considerations: the ring must be made of metal – so it’s stronger, can last long, and easier to put in and take out the paper; color must be dark – so when it’s dirty, it won’t be too visible hehehe…; and the file cover must be thick – so it’s durable and not easy to spoil if passed over from one hand to another.

Well, the folder and paper have been settled. Now, how to make it! It required me three days to complete the album, but not fully 3 days. E.g. On 1st day, after choosing loose leaf file folder and paper, at 3 pm, I went to Citraland - one of the malls in Jakarta - with my sister to look for shoes. From Citraland, we went to eat Bakso Grogol (beef ball), the food stall name is Mahkota! Wow, it tasted so good!!! It’d been quite some time since the last time I was eating there, yah… since I stopped joining the Tae Kwon Do competition in Stadium Grogol. The price wasn’t expensive too. Added with crackers and es pala (Nutmeg ice). Wah, so fresh and full!!! Eit eit… sorry ya friends, I talked this far, even promote their shop! But it’s really damn good, you know!! Even I heard they opened the branches. Have you guys eaten there before? Nice right? Was the price same with what they set in Grogol?? ^^"

The night after coming back from Grogol, I arranged the photo. Means, I put it in sequence based on the timing, which one occurred first. That’s not an easy job as so many photos need to be arranged! Some more I was soo… tired and sleepy… End up, that night I was sleeping in my eldest sister’s room because my bed was so messy, full with photos, paper, etc.

Second day, I went to school like usual. After finished the class, I had my lunch and changed my uniform to a comfortable one. While listening to the radio, I started arranging the paper from the brighter color to the dark ones. The paper that I bought was in bigger size so I had to cut it into smaller size one by one. And also, I had to make the hole using the hole punch so that it could fit into the ring binder nicely. Once it's ready, I tried to do the first page starting with the first event, Kirab Remaja.

I was thinking, how to make the photo durable and not easy to spoil or dirty? I took out the transparent plastics, which were used to wrap the greeting cards (I used to buy lots of greeting cards – e.g. for Birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year, etc. Instead of throwing the plastic away, I collected and kept it – recycling it, since it was all still in a very good condition). So, I put each photo inside the plastic, folded it nicely – ensure the photos were covered in it, then put a scotch tape so it won’t get loose.

Once done, I pasted the photos on the paper and stickers as decoration, then cut a white paper and wrote down what even was that, when did it happen, etc. I finally made my first page successfully. Then continued with second event, etc. Since the events had passed quite some time ago, I was a bit forgot when was that happened, so I had to open my diary to recall the information back.

It was Friday and I had to go for my English course in LIA. So I stopped at 4pm. After my class, I went to the restaurant to catch dinner with my family. But since I reached there quite late, my father ordered a packet of Ee fu noodle for me takeaway. It was such a big portion!! I was too hungry and ended up finishing the whole packet by myself, except the mushrooms to my mom since I didn't like it :P After dinner, I continued making the album for a while then sleeping in my eldest sis’s room again – that day my room was even messier!!!

On the last day… It was Oath Youth Day, 28th October 1995. I went to school. You also right? Did you guys remember that we had flag ceremony?? If not… forget it then! I also couldn’t remember… I just knew, after the flag ceremony, I ate Soto (Indonesian style chicken soup) near the church there, with Letis and her sister. When I wanted to pay, I looked at my wallet, oooww… I only had Rp. 1,200 notes Hehe.. My face had turned reddish like a boiled crab!!! Because when I was asking for the price to the seller, seemed like no problem at all. But when wanted to pay, seemed like my money wasn't sufficient!!! So after searching for coins at the corner of my wallet, finally I could take out Rp. 1,200 together with 2 coins of Rp. 50 plus 2 coins of Rp 100 = cenggo (Rp. 1,500). Ahhh… I felt so relieved!! Next time before going there, make sure I have enough money in my wallet! Don’t repeat it again, please!!!

After having the Soto, I went back home. While doing it halfway, I realize I didn't have enough papers, so I had to ride my motorcycle again back to Subur bookshop. When done, I went back home and continued my work.

At 3pm, I got myself prepare to go to Goenawan (for physics tuition) – At that time, I went there to learn the basic course for 3 months. It was quite expensive, which costs Rp. 250,000. But the course was not bad. It was twice a week.

After the class, I had my dinner, changed clothes and watched TV. I continued making the album from 9pm to 12am. Oh lala… finally it’s done!!! After so much hard work, I finally finished preparing this beautiful album… The next day was Sunday, it was rest day.

On Monday, 30th October, I started to show the album to my friends. Since it was fresh new, many people looked at it with curiosity. The advantage of using the loose leaf file folder: I can put in and remove the paper for them to fill in. So they can just look at the album in the class, then they bring the paper back home, fill it up, and once finished, just submit that paper back to me. So they don’t have to bring the whole album back home – as it’s quite heavy.

But lately, I forced them to bring it home because it became heavier each and every day and I was quite lazy to do it… hahaha… :P

In the beginning, there was no “Impression and Message” notes. I took the idea from Mala (my classmate) for that part. After buying Mickey Mouse paper, I distributed the paper around. First, to my lovely A2 class, then to my close friends at other classes, then to other friends.. Luckily all of you were willing to give your precious time to write for me.

After Chemistry lab test - Lovely A2 class
I have read all the “Impression and Message” from all of you. I am soooo…. happy although some was a bit confused and dunno what to write and at the end, you wrote the same thing. I’ll discuss your comment here one by one…. Hihihi…

1. Majority has the same impression towards the way I laughed, which was just like ‘kuntilanak’ (Indonesian woman ghost). I admit that was true! In addition, when I was in Primary 5, I like to play ghost game with my cousin and my neighbor, both guys, at about same age. I became the witch and the ghost. My specialty in laughing made them shocked and ran away… It was so fun playing like that!!

For me, laughter - as long as it’s funny - has to be released! Do not hold it. Especially when we are still young and there are still times for us to laugh and be happy. But if you laugh at other people’s misfortune, e.g. when they fall down while walking, then you have to hold it, otherwise, you are looking for trouble! Other than that, when you laugh, you also have to see the situation. Don’t laugh because you look down on other people, that’s not right!!! Most importantly, laugh normally and freely, like mine… :D As long as it’s funny, otherwise, you can be the first patient of Putra (if he decided to become Mental Health Doctor) kekeke….

2. People said, I’m a Queen of Dangdut. (Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that is partly derived from Hindustani or Hindi music, Malay, Arabic. Loved by native Indonesian). In the beginning, when I was given task to draw from Pak Suyono (my drawing teacher), I would feel very stress. Therefore, I would start hysterically singing Dangdut songs. My memory of the dangdut songs that I heard when I was young were suddenly all appeared on my head. When I was in Primary 1, what we could listen on my father's antic radio was AM channel, not FM, so most of the songs played were dangdut, and the funny thing was, I liked listening into it! Hihihi…

Actually I love to sing when I was young! We used to watch Aneka Ria Safari and Selecta Pop shows on TV (where the top singer performed the latest hit Indonesian songs). So, don’t be surprised if I often sang those mushy adult songs. Then, me, my 3rd sister, and 2 neighbors around our ages, we would play as if we were on the singing show.

One of us would be a singer, while the rest would sit down and watch. We took turn singing. While singing, you had to move with some styles too, so not just stand up still, such as butterfly style, backstroke, frog style, etc. :P Then one of the audiences would be MC and said, “Here is our star…. Overcome… with a song called…. Hura hura……” The rest of audience would applause hard, whistle and welcome the star to sing…

Even, some of my parent’s favorite cassette became our object to record our sweet and melodic sound. That antic radio could record too!! So, we took one of the cassettes, we searched for one that had the same cover (later on we found out that was actually contained different songs), because from outer appearance it was all looking the same. Rather than having so many with same one, so we took one for our recording, for our goodness in developing our talent and creation.

We started recording our sounds. After singing, audience would happily applause, cheer and whistle, so it would look like crowded (actually it was only 2 audience there). Our effort went smoothly – means so far our parents didn’t know about our activity – until one day, when we were in a holiday trip to Jawa, my father was driving and mom was sitting beside him. My siblings and I were inside the car too. My mom then turned on her favorite cassette, but suddenly a strange and tacky sound started to appear and highlighted our bleak journey. My father scolded us while my sister and I were laughing happily at the back seat, able to listen to our sweet and melodious voice…. :D

There were some dangdut songs and wordings that were nice. Even when I sing an English top hit song, it would be affected slightly by the dangdut accent, and therefore, many people has complained, especially those in A2 class. Hehehe…

3. Some people said, I was rough. It was quite true as it’s a bit hard for me to hide my emotion. If I was happy, I felt like hitting someone! So many victims had been hit by me. Therefore, please accept my apologize… However, there were some loved to be hit though… I’m going to hit ‘em again later then… hahaha….

4. I like to throw rubbish not at the rubbish bin!!! Hehehe… Also quite true!! But recently, I have been reducing this habit since the drawing banner and poster competition, which were held recently. When inside the class, I threw the rubbish because I felt like to and thought that it was fun to throw the rubbish on people, especially the one sit two front rows before me, aiming at Putra! Sometimes it would fly too far and it would hit Dado and Istan (both sat next to Putra). Hehe… Sorry guys!

5. People said I’m such a thoughtful person, love to send cute Birthday cards. Hehe... Thank you. You don’t have to praise me on that. It was just my hobby to find a nice and cute card, and it wasn’t too expensive too. I loved to match the picture and wordings in the card with the person who receives it. Most importantly, those cards have brighten up your days right??? :)

6. I’m not feminine. Ah, not really… I had my hair long before. In school, I wear skirt everyday too!!! What else you want for me to be feminine??? Even during the farewell party last year, I wore a very bright lipstick on my lips!!! You can look at the photo if you don’t believe!! I even scared to see it myself because the color was just like drinking someone’s blood….

7. Many people surprise with my results! Not only you my friends, even I’m surprised with my ability… Some wrote that my life was just like a bat (sleeping in the afternoon and lively at night). Actually, it was not ‘just like a bat’, but ‘it is like a bat!!!'

Do you know why I study at night? After a long day at school, don’t you feel tired? Some more if there were additional class. So it’s better to take a good rest first! At the same time I was avoiding extra job from home such as: sewing the sack bag, carrying the goods from house to lorry and vice versa, covering the box with sack then sewing it nicely, pasting the masking tape into the boxes, etc. (My father’s occupation was mainly buying goods from Jakarta, repacked then sent it to another island. He expected us to help up since we were very young. And I often try to find a way to get rid of it. What a naughty me!!! :P)

For me, that was not my time yet to do such things because my main duty right now as a student is to sleep!!! Oops.. I mean to study!!! Then usually I will start studying from 9pm onwards. My father often turns on TV so loud. The TV is just behind my room. So noisy, you know? Try yourself to study at 12am, 1am, 2am… It was so peaceful and quiet… so good… Other than that, you can also practice yourself not being afraid or scared of other things e.g. ghost. At the same time, you could become a security guard protecting your house (e.g. when listening to weird sound from the roof or in front of your house gates, etc.). See? So many advantages!!!

But sometimes I didn’t have enough time to study, so I got bad marks. If the results were good, that’s because I listened and put attention to the teacher well, took down a note, and absorbed what they taught us in the class. It would benefit us much better in that way!! Don't you agree??

8. Some were saying, during orientation, I was often doing something against the organizers (our seniors and teachers). No no, not right!! I did only once, but with a very bad consequences!!! (When we just started high school, there was a week orientation organized by 2nd and 3rd year students (our seniors and teachers), to let us adapt and grow up into the new world. We had to follow what they ordered us to do, such as: tie our hair into two for gals, or guys wearing clips on his hair when going to school. Bring food that consists of 5 spoons of brown rice, 1 piece of tofu with triangle shape, long bean cut into 3 cm each for 10 pcs – must make sure it’s correct measurement, etc. If you don’t follow exactly what they want, they will punish you in front of others, such as singing, dancing, push up, sit up, and so on, and mainly just to make you feel shameful).

At that time, it was the last day of orientation. They asked us to write about what we feel during the orientation. I was too honest to describe what I felt, including some personal comments and remarks toward the some seniors, but honestly, I just wrote it to release what I felt, without any bad intention.

Disaster in the beginning of the high school. Because of that, they punished and scolded me. Imagine!! Everyone in their classes would hear me shouting and reading my comment alone in the basket ball court under the hot sun!!! They also asked me to apologize and to get signatures from the seniors that I'd offended and from some teachers, and they made me to do hard things to earn their signature until I was crying hehehe…. What an unforgettable memory!!! Sigh....

9. Some said they'd miss being disturbed by me, such as: stick the sticker behind their uniform huahaha…. Put, that was so much fun you know? There was a deep satisfaction in doing so!! Even Bu Lily, our chemistry teacher, laughed on you too.. hehehe…

Fyi, recently it wasn’t me sticking the sticker into your uniform, but the other two girls who sit beside me… hihihi… You don’t know right??? Even those who sit behind me was also participating into it. Hihihi...

10. Some friends were suffering with me, taking the bus all the way to Tangerang (suburb of Jakarta). Hahaha.. I believe, it’s an unforgettable event for those who were sitting in the bus with me. Most of you know about the story. For those who don’t know, let me tell you the story.

When I was in 1st year of high school, me and other 4 friends were heading to LIA in Slipi to register the English course. When going back home, I asked them to stop at Slipi Jaya (shopping center) as I need to buy the ink pen ROTRING – German brand pen – used for drawing (mine was lost somewhere). After going out from Slipi Jaya, there was a big green bus (we called it PATAS bus) stopping right in front of us, and the bus conductor was shouting, “rang rang rang rang…”

Without looking at the bus number and the destination that usually was written in front, I immediately asked my friends to board into the bus. Because it’s kinda hard to get the bus to our house, as most of them would prefer to use highway and not the normal road. So, all of us sat down peacefully inside the bus. I took out the story book and read it on the journey, didn’t look around on where the bus went to, as I confident the bus would go to the right direction.

Suddenly, one of my friends poked me and asked, “R, is this bus going to Muara Karang?” Since I was so deeply into my story book, I looked aside for a while with a confident face saying, “Correct la! Just now he shouted ‘karang karang karang…’ mah?”, and I continued reading my book.

Again, my 4 friends started to panic looking left and right, felt that something was wrong. They couldn’t recognize the place at all!!! She poked me again, who was still reading full of concentration. Then I looked left and right… Alamak!!! Where were we!!! Where the bus brought us to??? I started asking around where the bus was heading to and found out that this bus was going to Tangerang, and not Muara Karang… OMG!!! Suddenly I felt my body was so weak and lost so much energy. I immediately put my book inside my bag and we were dropped off at the entrance of the highway to Tangerang and went back home by TAXI. Hahahaha…. They scolded me all the way back home… :P

Sorry friends, I really didn’t realize that we were taking the wrong bus back home. I was too confident. Really sorry about it!

11. A friend told me that I used to be stingy, but not anymore. Hm.. after thinking about it, maybe he’s right. But it was before, before I know Buddhism. But since I visited the temple near my house often, I had learn and tried to practice the Buddha's teaching: to help those who in need and to make them happy.

I found a good saying taken from outer part of donation box in the temple: “To give doesn’t mean to lose. To accept doesn’t mean you’re lucky! To give is the beginning of accepting and to accept is the result of giving.” Isn’t it nice? It’s based on the karma law, cause and effect.

Well, more or less, until now, Sunday, 31st March 1996 at 2.07am in the morning, I have compiled your impressions towards me. Oh ya, do you want to know how long did I take to write the above? Yesterday, Saturday, 30th March, from 9pm to 2.45am. See, bat’s life? Then today, Monday morning, from 1.45am to 2.10am.

Then, do you want to know the entire story behind the photos that I put in this album?? Want or not? Want or not? Want ya??? (Then I continued writing for another 5 pages front and back. I won’t write it here… as it is too much to write… Btw, the one that I wrote above was actually about 6 pages front and back, all was written using my handwriting. Wow, I really had nothing to do huh???)

So, that was more or less me, during senior high school time.

Few days retreate - Me on the left and Aileen was on the right
Below I posted one of the paper written by Aileen, the one who stays in Singapore now:

19th January 1996, 11.20am

Hi R, the best friend of mine!
Ready yah? One… two… three… start! Listen carefully, ok?

Number one: Look at the picture! That is Mickey Mouse, isn’t it? Now I want to tell you that you’re just like him. Not the face (if you feel like it, also can hehe..) Look at him again carefully! He is a charming person. He is smiling as if he did not ever know about sadness. Seems like you who always look cheerful. Because, as I know, you never look sad. But at home, maybe you’re such crying baby ya? (As if I know).

Time’s up! Let’s go on No. 2!
I want to say, but don’t feel proud ya.., that you’re creative. Wanna proof? What you ask me to do now, to write what I feel about you and the message for you.
I wish I were you. Because I can’t be creative like you (don’t feel proud again ah?). I am too lazy to make things like this.

Done with no. 2,
Now number 3: What is the difference between the past R and the present R?
The answer is: Since I knew you, seems like you’ve never changes. Your thin, your fat. You look okay from every aspect. You are sociable, confident, kind heart, all remains the same. The only thing changing was your trendy hair, that’s all! One more thing, do you realize that recently, or maybe since 2nd year, you became more talkative and amusing? But that’s fine! That’s cool, man!

The following are my messages to you:
- Study hard and put in much effort as it all will be for your future. Thanks yah for your support to me before!
- Just be yourself!
- Forget me not, ok?
- Ora et labora (pray and work in Latin)

Oh ya, I forgot to tell you my impression about this: I’m impressed with you who always go to temple every week, unlike me. But even I don’t go, I still pray at home. So, there is nothing wrong for me to tell you never to forget the ‘above’, right?

Always,

Aileen

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do not worry too much...


Translated from the above:

Don't worry if you don't look pretty enough, because no one is perfect.

Don't worry if what you do is not good enough, because no matter how well it's done, you can't satisfy the whole world.

Don't worry about getting old every single day you live, because no one can live without getting old.

Don't worry about tomorrow if you can eat well, as today you have three full meal, that's already good.

Don't worry about your loved one will leave you, because in this world, basically every good things will come to an end.

Don't feel troubled about tomorrow, as today you are safe, has already been good.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Something about December


Something about December

The above video is a song by Christina Perri. The title is "Something about December". Nice to listen, especially in a raining day like this. Hope you enjoy the song too...

It's 22nd December! 3 more days Christmas is coming!!! Time flies like usual.

PY, ET and me
On Wednesday, my two best friend and I went for ET's post Birthday gathering dinner. Her birthday falls on 10th December, but we only celebrated on 19th December due to our busy schedule. We had our dinner at Jack Place in Ang Mo Kio. The place is pretty cozy. The lighting was a bit dark, creating a very nice ambiance. PY came only an hour later as she had to finish issuing cheques because the Directors will be leaving for Christmas holidays until New Year.

I ordered Jack Place Chef's salad, my old time favorite :) ET first time ate there and she loved the salad too. PY just changed her hand phone and proudly showed it to us. Hahaha... ET kept saying that this phone is very good, so many functions in it, etc, but herself was actually using iPhone kekeke... We also chit chatted about other things, such as plan on how to celebrate Christmas and New Year, etc. After dinner, we went to NTUC to buy things. I bought some chocolates for my mom. My brother went back Jakarta yesterday so I asked him to help me passing it to her.

Yesterday it was Dongzhi festival, which literally means "Arrival of Winter." This festival is commonly celebrated by Chinese on or around 22nd December. As for this year, it falls on 21st December. Traditionally, it was meant as a festival for family to get together. 


When we were young, on the night before, my mom would prepare "tang yuan" or balls of glutinous rice (which symbolizes reunion), made of glutinous rice flour and water. She would add some coloring, like red and green to make it colorful and more attractive to eat hehe.. We would sit together helping her to shape the dough into the balls. On the next day, she would prepare the soup, made of brown sugar, ginger, water, and pandan leaves.The balls would be boiled then put in the cold water separately. When we wanted to eat, she then would heat the soup and pour the balls into it. As for how many should we eat, it would be according to how old we were. But as we grow up, we don't follow that rule anymore. Just eat as many as we can eat. Otherwise, imagine if I'm 50 years old, I have to eat all 50 balls into my stomach...... hahaha.... no space for that... :)

Preparing the tang yuan or glutinous rice balls

The photo above was taken in pastry kitchen at place where I work. My colleague was preparing the glutinous balls for our company's Christmas party. Yes, Christmas Party!! :)

Year end is coming and usually they would prepare one for all staffs to celebrate all our hard work and achievements for the whole year. It's just a short one, but the Chefs would prepare nice food for us :)

Desserts made by Pastry Chefs
They prepared a beautiful range of desserts, appetizers, and main course. I ate until very full.

Me and my colleagues :)
Took fun photo there as well... ^^

This evening, I finally used the juicer machine :D I bought it last weekend. I wanted to buy it since long time ago, but only recently managed to get one. The price was $200 plus when first launched. After many years... I think it's been 3-4 years? Now the promotion price was $169. But I bought it at only $129 hahaha... nice bargain ah??? Hubby told me that I won't use it more than 20 times per year. He even asked me to write in a piece of paper, the date that I use the machine, and to be signed by him each time I use. If I use it more than 20 times, he would reward me with something. Hahahahaha....... :D

I bought the other machine before. It was a blender. I seldom use it and most of the time I would keep it inside the cupboard. That's why he commented the above :D

This afternoon, I bought few types of fruits. There were pineapples, dragon fruit, watermelon, oranges, and carrot. Ready to use the machine :)


Hm... it's really good!!! The machine produce the juice only. All the fibers were filtered so that what it produces were only pure juice. Hm... Nyummy!!! See how often I use it. And I realize, I know why I seldom use those machines... Because it need a lot of washing after you use it... Sooo troublesome!!! I think it's better to buy a glass of juice outside for $2 per glass rather than do it yourself like this... hahaha... But the quality will be different though, 'cos usually they mixed it with water and ice. Hm... good bargain.. Just love it!! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New year's resolutions

11 more days to go to year 2013!!!

I've just jotted down my new year's resolutions in my Doraemon notebook. Hehe.. It's more like short term SMART goals that I plan for the first half year. The 2nd half year seems to be slight far from now, so I won't think about it first.

There are some serious stuffs in the list 'cos according to my horoscope, few are saying that next year will be a great year to build my foundation for a better career. But they're also saying that my health star luck won't be so good. So I really need a lot of determination and full strength to carry on. Can I do it?? Let's see ba!! Usually I'd think, if others can do it, so do I! :D

Saving money is one of the continuous goal as I won't know when I'll need it, especially with my condition like this. And it's kind of weird as there would always be a period when I will need to spend lots of money at one shot. All kind of problems will just appear like that. This morning, I just broke my umbrella. Kekeke.... Usually it worked just fine whenever I need to use. And see dentist will be the biggest headache for the moment. Haiz..... It's not the first time and won't be the last one. Too many problems that I have. Hahahaha....

Maintain my weight is one of the resolutions. It always reminds me of the three new pants that I just bought. I bought it with current size that I am having now, so no way of gaining weight allowed!!

I will need a little short break. Still don't know where and when to go, but I'll plan for one, to go with my loved ones.

Well, see how much can I fulfill... Hehehe... Have you made one for yourself?? Think about it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blur like sotong

How was your weekend everyone? Mine was nothing unusual, except that I was so blurred like sotong – Urban dictionary: dumb like squid...used with "blur" which is a mental state somewhere between spacey, oblivious, and retarded ;D I was so blurred and didn’t realize what date was it on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, I went to dentist for checking up my teeth and also for washing. The doctor pressed me to do X-Ray and one small X-Ray costs me S$30. After that, she showed me the X-Ray result and she said, there were 2 teeth that I need to repair and each would cost S$900. If I go to the dentist nearby my area (newly opened and obviously this doctor works there) in the morning, she will give me 20% discount. If I go during weekend, the most she can give is only 5% discount. Wow! S$900 per tooth or $1,800 for two. Even after 20% discount (and 2 times half day leave), it will still cost me S$1,440. That’s the price I have to pay if I want to make my teeth beautiful and safer…… Haiz… maybe the doctor thought that I am one of those MPs who earn so much per month ah?

I was distracted with it and made me thinking of the AWS that will be received soon. AWS stands for Annual Wage Supplement (AWS), usually paid in December, also said as 13th month salary, given to full-time employee who is still working with a company as at 31st December 2012. The amount is equal to one month salary and usually I’d reserve this amount to pay the yearly insurance for my son. My mind was battling – should I spend it for my teeth or for my son’s insurance? Well, I know the answer though, definitely for my son’s insurance. Hahaha… But that thought just kept dangling in my mind.

We went to Hougang Mall after that. My son went to library to return the books, then we walked to other shops including Popular bookshop. I was thinking whether to buy books or not and I remembered of having $5 voucher from the last time Popular Book Fair in Expo. I was so stubborn not to take out the voucher from my wallet as I thought it wouldn’t expire so fast. At night, 10 pm, I was rearranging my wallet. I took out the Popular voucher and it’s written that the voucher was valid until 16th December. I was like… “Ahhhhh…. Today is 16th!! Why didn’t I take out the voucher just now and use it right away?????” It’s only $5 lah, but if we can save, why not right??? I was so regretting myself not taking out the voucher just now… So I threw the voucher away into my dustbin.

On Sunday, I woke up at 10am, but lazing around until almost 12 pm. It was cloudy outside. I started out my day cleaning my house: sweeping the floor, mopping it, washing two toilets, like the usual housewife, and then taking a bath. It was 2.30 pm. My son was hungry. I reheated the last night fried rice for him and cooked porridge for myself. I also stir-fried the bean sprout with chili, garlic, and carrot, trying to eat healthy hahaha…. Once done, I had my late lunch at 3pm. My chore didn’t stop there. I continued hanging the laundry, while I asked my son to fold the dried one. Then I was ironing clothes for an hour plus. Soooo tiring……. At 5.15pm it was finally over. I went into my son’s room, using computer for a while, then hubby came back home. He was asking us out for dinner at Compass Point.

So we all went out to Compass Point for dinner. After dinner, I walked alone shopping for Christmas presents while two of them walking themselves then went back home. I visited Popular bookshop again. I saw there was a board written 2nd book at 50% discount and it showed their magazine that the offer valid until 16 December. I was thinking, since the offer had over yesterday, why they still put the notice there? Weird… and also, how come there were still so many people there when the offer had ended?? In the end I didn’t buy anything there and went to other shops to find my Christmas presents and went back home at 9 pm plus.

This morning, I turned on my hand phone. I saw the date, 17th December 2012. Walaooooo…. I just realized that yesterday was 16th!!! And actually I still could use the voucher yesterday!! Hahaha…. I was so blurred lah!!! After shocked with the dentist high price offered and doing too much chores, I couldn’t even notice what date was on Saturday and Sunday. I was given the opportunity twice to use the voucher but I missed it! Hahaha… ya, maybe it’s not a fate yet to buy the book. Oooh.. I remember now why I was so mixed up with the date!! My son said the due date of his library book was on the 16th. And he returned the book on Saturday, so I was thinking that it was 16th December on Saturday. Alamak!!! Baobei lah… made ur Mom so blurred like sotong!!!

Anyway, it’s not about the $5 that I regretted, but why I was so ignorant about the dates? Haiz… It’s 17 December now. 4 more days to what people believe to be end of the world, 8 more days to Christmas, and exactly 2 weeks to end of the year. How time flies. I have to think about a new year resolutions soon. It’s a new week again! Some people is busy with their work, some people is having holiday. Whoever it is, hope you all enjoy the rest days of the year. Live a more meaningful life and be happy!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fate of the pair of shoes



Here I am! Sitting on a director chair, under the bright moonshines in my house's balcony. Sipping the 4th glass of Terrazas des Los Andes - Reserva Torrontes 2010 - a white wine from Argentina. This afternoon hubby said that his Boss - who works in wine companies - passed him a bottle of wine. My hubby doesn't drink and his Boss knows that I drink hehe... So he gave it to me as a Christmas present. Thank you Boss!! :D

I went out to Chinatown after work. It was just a 10-minutes walk from my office. I wanted to buy working shoes and happened that there was a sale in the dept store there, but too bad there was no size available for the shoes I want. So maybe I will look for other shops to find for the same shoes. My foot size is considered big in Asia and it's kinda hard for me to find a suitable pair of shoes. Really need a good karma to find one hahaha... It reminded me of my first day in Bhutan.

I was preparing my luggage, to ensure that I brought enough clothes, underwear, raincoat jacket, sweater, toiletries, etc. But I forgot one thing to check, which was the condition of my shoes. I thought I would only need to wear the sport shoes and bring a pair of slippers to be used inside the hotel, so I didn't bring my other sandal shoes. I put my sport shoes inside the store room since we moved house in February, and I forgot to check its condition. I bought it around 2 years ago. Since I seldom use it, I thought it was still in good condition. Who knows, at first day reaching Bhutan, I found something wrong with it! The glues didn't stick anymore. The sole was coming out from my right shoe. OMG!!! When we visited the Simtokha Dzong, I walked without the right side of the sole, felt so embarassing!! But not sure if anyone noticed haha... We had to remove shoes when entering the Dzong some more. Alamak!!!

The leather at the outside layer of the shoes had also coming out. Wah... I was so panic!! My days were still long to go and yet my shoes condition were so bad!!! Some more I only brought slipper and I found it impolite to wear it in Bhutan since we had to visit some Dzong, temples and other government building.

After visiting the Simtokha Dzong, we were brought to a place to have lunch. I looked around. It looked like city area in Thimphu. I told one of the tour participants to inform the guide that I'd come back later as I needed to buy something. I looked around again. The restaurant was just at the opposite of the Stadium near the standing Buddha statue. I crossed the road and again, another part of the sole broke haha... I saw the clothes shop. Then, next to it, there was a shoe shop. Wah, lucky!! Said myself! But when I entered in, to my horror, the types of shoes sold were all woman's style shoes (those with high heels.. More suitable for partying), otherwise, the sizes were all small....... Hiks..... :"(

After looking around the shop, I asked the shopkeeper right away, "Do you have shoes with a big size??". I told her my size. And as expected, she shook her head. I had tried one shoe, but its biggest size was 8, too small for me. Then I saw the only pair of sport shoes. It was written "Nike." No other sport shoes available inside the store. It's shoelace's color was so eye-catching, as if it was there for so long waiting for me to notice! It didn't seem like the original Nike shoes and it didn't look like a woman shoes either. However, as I put in my feet into the shoes, it was just fitting into it nicely. Wow!! It wasn't very comfortable though, but I really had no choice!!!

 
I asked her, how much was it? She said, three thousand Ngultrum (or USD$55). As it was my first day in Bhutan, I really had no idea how much the money worth over there. I asked for discount and she said, no discount. Alas!!! Perhaps she could read my mind that I had no choice but to buy that pair of shoes!!! Haiz.... If I was given a choice, I would never pick that pair of shoes... Really!!!!

First, I was not sure if it was man or woman shoes. Second, it was not very comfortable. And third, the color was too striking!!! But too bad, I really had no other choice and didn't even have a power to bargain!!!! Hahaha.... I looked at my shoes and told her, 'Okay, I'll take this...' And paid her three thousand Ngultrum and asked her if I could dump my shoes in the rubbish bin inside her shop. She said, "Sure!"

Well, transaction was made and I could happily walk back to the building where the restaurant was located. I took the lift without knowing in which floor the restaurant was... But I guessed it was on 3rd floor, 'cos otherwise people would take a staircase... Hmm... Right enough. I found the place and entered it in. When I took my food from the buffet counter, Tshering, our guide was asking me where did I go? He thought I went missing on my first day in Bhutan... Hahaha.. I was just smiling, "No la... I went out buying something...", and sat down with my parents, enjoying my lunch, in peace.....

I knew it's far too expensive for that pair of shoes, but given in the situation I had, I was lucky enough to find one in the hundreds available there :D At least I could continue the rest of my journey peacefully.... :) So, now you believe that even buying shoes need a fate for me???

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12


Good morning!!!
It’s a special day today!!! 
 
My son has been waiting for this day to come. Why? Because today it’s his birthday!
Happy Birthday Dear Baobei….. Wish your life be blessed with lots of love, happiness and more importantly, good health!!! He’s 10 now. How time flies… I can still recall the day he was born…

It was 12 December 2002. I admitted to hospital the night before as I needed to prepare for the Caesar surgery. I had to do the surgery since my baby’s head position was on top (breech). My mom said, when I was born, I was also like that. But my mom didn’t go through surgery and I was still born healthily hehe…

Early that morning, my hubby, Mom and my 3rd sister went to hospital to give me support and encouragement.  I was so relaxed and calm. In my mind, I was thinking, whatever will be, will be…. Just go for it!!! At 9 am, wearing the hospital clothes, I was lying on the wheel bed. They pushed my bed and located me in one room, waiting for my turn. After a while, I started entering the operating theater. Lucky I had to take off my contact lens. I didn’t have to see the room so clearly. In blurred vision, it looked more like a dream rather than reality hahaha… :P The doctor asked me what was my name and my IC number, just in case they operated the wrong person.. haha…  It was a lady doctor.

The assisting nurse asked me to do curling position. They were going to inject me with the epidural anesthesia. I could feel the needle go through my spine. After the injection spread, I was back into lying position. Slowly I could feel numb at lower part of my body. I was still conscious. They blocked my view with a cloth, but I knew there were group of people attending my operation.

The knife was cutting my lower abdomen part. She was cutting it in horizontal line. I could feel water coming out and she was doing something like searching and pulling inside my stomach.

While doctor was busy doing their job, I was also busy praying. I remembered during Dhamma session, the speaker said, when giving birth, do the praying, to welcome the newborn to the world. Same like when people die, we also do the praying to send them off to the other world. So I chanted all Paritta that I knew, started from Namaskara Gatha, Vandanna, Tisarana, Pancasila, etc. I didn’t bother if the other nurses or doctor heard that as well. I just wanted my son to hear it :) After a while, I heard a sound of baby crying… waaa… waaa…. The baby finally came out to the world. The nurse came near to me and showed me the baby. I saw him crying, naked, and still covered with blood stains. My tears came out when seeing him. I saw his tiny fingers moving. I thanked Buddha for everything that my baby finally came out safely, normal and healthily to this world, and also my operation was running smooth and successful.

The nurse cleaned my baby and the doctor stitched my skin back. They weight the baby, put down the timing of birth, and brought him somewhere. After I was done, they pushed me back to the other room. I felt cold afterwards and needed some blanket to cover my body. After a while, they pushed me back to my normal ward. Hubby was waiting outside. Upon seeing me, he was smiling and told me how brave I was and thanked me for the entire thing I’d done. He also said he had seen the baby just now.

I requested the nurse to bring the baby to me for the breastfeeding. After 2 hours, the nurse brought the baby to me. I told them I was first time doing so and might not know if I could do it well. The nurse then helped me with the process. But my baby learned very fast. He could suck the milk as fast as he found it. Hahaha….  I breastfed him for 2 months then he drank powder milk (due to me going back to work).

For the rest 3 nights, I stayed in hospital until my wound dried up. My son was sleeping with me night and day so that I could breastfeed him.  I felt so blessed seeing him. He was such a good baby. He grew up slowly… one month, three months, six months, one year… two years.. three years.. and continue on…

Still remembered his first day going to nursery… going to kindergarten… going to Primary school... going here and there with me… Hehehe… In such short 10 years, he has been through a lot of things.

Two days ago, I browsed to see his photo archives. He was not at home (staying overnight at my brother’s house). My hubby, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I were sitting down and watching his photo collections in the computer screen. We were laughing and smiling when seeing that. Such a big transformation!!! From a little cute baby, little cute boy, and now, giant boy!!! Hahaha…. Enjoy the video below :)


Baobei, just wanna let you know.. Be who you are! We’ll always love you!! I love you Baobei…. Hope you are happy with your life, always!!! Muachhhh......
 
Cycling to Waterway
I take a leave today so that I can spend more time with him on his special day :) This morning, he woke me up at 7am. My brother's daughter stayed here last night and she has brought her bicycle to our house. And no choice, despite I slept very late last night, I pushed myself to wake up and open my eyes. I didn't want to disappoint the two children. We took out the other 2 bicycles and got ourselves ready for morning cycling. 

The weather was cool. The sun slowly rose to the sky. Nice!! :) We took breakfast on our way back home. At first we wanted to eat at Popeye and KFC, but they were not opened yet. So we stopped at one coffee shop and had our breakfast there.Hope you enjoy the rest of the day honey!!! :)

Ban Mian and Steamed Dumpling
Birthday Boy with the Birthday Cake :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When wine meets with chocolate

Fendant & Chocolate du Swiss

Wow!! Today is my day :)

I met up with Shelly for lunch at next door shopping mall. She just came back from Europe with her husband for holiday. And guess what she bought for me?? She bought a small bottle of Swiss wine, Trador Fendant AOC du Valais!!! Waaa... I'm so missed to taste the Swiss wine!!! Used to drink it while having raclette or fondue for our lunch or dinner in Swiss. Finally she was so kind-hearted bought that back to me. Merci beaucoup mon amie Shelly!!! Je t'aime!!! She also gave a chocolate for my Baobei and Eiffel Tower keychain for me.

I was studying Hotel Management many years back in Switzerland. My school is located in the Swiss Alps in the Canton du Valais, in a small tiny village, called Bluche. I spent 2.5 years staying there and another year in Geneva to do my service (as a waitress in Chinese restaurant) and kitchen training (dessert maker in Swiss restaurant).

Still can recall back my first day arriving in Geneva. We were fetched and took a bus for about 3 hours going up to the mountain, and it was snowing. What a wonderful feeling!!!

So many beautiful memories that I had over there. See how a small bottle of wine can bring me back all those memories??? Fyi, Swiss wine is not exported outside. That's why I only can depend on people who fly there to bring the wine back for me and this is the first one I've received since 11 years.... Hahaha....

Hey Tashi, if you manage to go there, please bring one big bottle of Fendant for me ok? We'll have it back in Bhutan when I visit you guys! ;D

Shelly asked me, what's so special about the wine?? I told her, I just miss it very much... Haven't got any chance to visit Bluche back in 11 years. Well, I do hope visiting there this year when there is a reunion, but so far no news announced yet... So, for a moment, let me enjoy this wine first... Ya.. I'll enjoy it tomorrow, on a special day... Fendent and I.... And let my son enjoys his chocolate.... :)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

One fine day in Orchard Road...

This afternoon, my son and I headed to Orchard road. My purpose is to take photos and my son will be the model. Hahaha.... We walked from Wheelock Place all the way to Orchard Central. Took whatever photos related to Christmas decoration. I collated it and made into a short video below. Hope you enjoy!!! :)


If you can't see the video (in your mobile), you can click into this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpg3cE5wSN0&feature=plcp

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner


“We help other people because we can, or because it makes us feel good, not because we're counting on some future payback. There is a word for this; love.”
- Eric Weiner

I just finished reading "The Geography of Bliss", written by Eric Weiner few days ago. It was a story where one grump American searched for the happiest place in the world and shared with readers on what they can learn from it.

He traveled from Iceland (one of the world’s happiest countries) to Bhutan (where the king has made Gross National Happiness a national priority) to Moldova (not a happy place). He also traveled to Switzerland, where he discovered the hidden virtues of boredom (I agree with that :D); to the tiny-and extremely wealthy-Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, where the relationship between money and happiness is laid bare; to India, where Westerners seek their bliss at the feet of gurus; to Thailand, where "not thinking" is a way of life; to a small town outside London where happiness experts attempt to “change the psychological climate.”

"Place". That is what "The Geography of Bliss" is about. How place - in every aspect of the word - shapes us, defines us. Change your place, I believe, and you can change your life. (http://www.ericweinerbooks.com/books/the-geography-of-bliss/description/)

Honestly, I am not a book reader. Usually after few pages reading, I would fall asleep. If I can't sleep at night, I will take a book out and read on my bed so that I can fall asleep faster. Hahaha... But I found this book is quite interesting. Perhaps because I've been to some of the countries he mentioned and I would like to know what he wrote about happiness in those countries.

I will not tell you here about the story inside the book. It's better for you to read and find it out yourself :) Let me share with you some of his quotations from the book he wrote.

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“Rule number one: wear loose clothing. No Problem.

Rule number two: no alcohol for the next three days.
Slight problem. I'll miss my evening glass of wine but figure I can go for three days without and compensate later.

And the last rule: absolutely no coffee or tea or caffeine of any kind.
Big problem. This rule hits me like a sucker punch and sure would have knocked me to the floor had I not been sitting there already. I'm eying the exits, plotting my escape. I knew enlightenment came at a price, but i had no idea the price was this steep. A sense of real panic sets in. How am I going to survive for the next seventy-two hours without a single cup of coffee?”
― Eric Weiner

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“Part of positive psychology is about being positive, but sometimes laughter and clowns are not appropriate. Some people don't want to be happy, and that's okay. They want meaningful lives, and those are not always the same as happy lives.”
― Eric Weiner


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 “Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.”
― Eric Weiner 

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“That's why we feel so disoriented, irritated even, when these touchstones from our past are altered. We don't like it when our hometown changes, even in small ways. It's unsettling. The playground! It used to be right here, I swear. Mess with our hometown, and you're messing with our past, with who we are. Nobody likes that.”
― Eric Weiner

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“Some places are like family. They annoy us to no end, especially during the holidays, but we keep coming back for more because we know, deep in our hearts, that our destinies are intertwined.”
― Eric Weiner

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“Money sometimes buys happiness. You have to break it down, though. Money is a means to an end. The problem is when you think it is an end in itself. Happiness is relationships, and people in the west think money is needed for relationships. But it's not. It comes down to trustworthiness." I'd heard the same thing in Switzerland. Trust is a prerequisite for happiness. Trust not only of your government, of institutions, but trust of your neighbors.”
― Eric Weiner

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“I would not have done anything differently. All of the moments in my life, everyone I have met, every trip I have taken, every success I have enjoyed, every blunder I have made, every loss I have endured has been just right. I am not saying that they were all good or that they happened for a reason...but they have been right. They have been okay. As far as revelations go its pretty lame, I know. Okay is not bliss or even happiness. Okay is not the basis for a new religion or self help movement. Okay won't get me on Oprah, but okay is a start and for that I am grateful. Can I thank Bhutan for this breakthrough? It's hard to say […] It is a strange place, peculiar in ways large and small. You lose your bearings here and when that happens a crack forms in your armor. A crack large enough, if you're lucky, to let in a few shafts of light.”
― Eric Weiner

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I love you too Mummy....

Yesterday after work, I straightly had my dinner at home. The day before my mother-in-law cooked salty vegetable but I ate outside, so didn't manage to eat. Usually she'd cook a big bowl of it and could last for few days. So on the way back, I already imagined it to be on our menu for yesterday dinner, and yup, it was there... Hehehe....

I scooped a hot steaming rice from rice cooker, poured a soup into a bowl and got ready for my dinner :) With chopsticks, I took the salty vegetable, ate it with plain rice.. Hmmmm... A perfect combination... Hehehe.... It was simple but fulfilling. I was too much into myself then realized that my son was lying on sofa watching TV. Then my mother-in-law started telling me that Baobei didn't feel well the whole day and she measured his temperature, it was 37 plus.

I asked him, "How are you? What do you feel?". He said, "Ok." I asked him to have dinner with me, but he refused. He was like that whenever he didn't feel well, refusing to eat (not like him... Usually he'd eat eagerly and even scooped another one or two bowls extra of rice when the menu was his favorite). So I ignored him for a while and continued my dinner. In the kitchen, I saw few pots of cooling tea (tea cooked using Chinese herbs or ingredients to reduce heatiness of the body). Then I recalled that the past few days we had durian and deep fried food, so maybe he didn't feel well because of eating those food. So I poured 2 glass of cooling tea. One for me, and another one for him. "Come, sit properly and drink cooling tea," I requested. He then sat by my side and started to drink. I touched his forehead, a bit fever. But judging from his behaviour, he was still ok. I asked him to eat dinner again, but he still refused.

I took a bath. He was watching TV in my room. He told me, that was what he had been doing for the whole day. Lying on my bed and watched TV. Then I told him, "No wonder lah, you should go out and have exercise! You can go downstairs and play at playground, if not play your basketball." He immediately replied that the ball had not enough air.

These few days weather was hot in the afternoon, then it rained in the evening. It was so cooling at night, I almost took out my K5 (Bhutan whiskey) to warm up my body... But I told myself, no no, tomorrow work, better don't, otherwise I'll make it a new bad habit.. Hehe...

After finishing my bath, I took out pear and small oranges from the fridge. I peeled the pear and cut it into pieces. Baobei followed me to living room. I asked him to have dinner again, telling him how perfect the salty vegetable to be eaten with hot steamed rice haha... And this time he gave up. He went to the kitchen, scooped out a bowl of rice and finally had his dinner :) I sat at dining table next to him, accompanying him eat and talk. When finished, I asked him to eat the pear and the orange, while I went to his room, using computer to pay my ACCA yearly subscription and buy Baobei school's books online.

After a while Baobei entered his room, opened his two arms wide and came to me, "Mummy.....," he hugged me and I hugged him back.Then I kissed his two cheeks and his lip, then he kissed my two cheeks and my lip. I taught him this kissing style since he was a baby. I know one day he will grow up and will stop kissing me, so before it happens, I make that kissing style as a habit, as an expression of love :) His cheeks are so meaty. I love to kiss his cheeks, especially after he took a bath, you can smell the fragrant soap smell on his cheeks and cool feeling.. Hehehe.... He came and hugged me twice, means it was time for me to finish using the computer. Hahaha....

So I went back to my room, brushed my teeth, took out my contact lens, and went straight to my bed. Actually I asked him to sleep in his room and don't turn on the air-con since he was not feeling well, but he refused and preferred to sleep with us. Hubby was still working, so just the two of us. We watched TV for a while, then ready to sleep at 10pm.

He slept in the middle. I'd face him and he faced me as well. Suddenly I felt that one of his arms on top of my body (like hugging). Suddenly I felt blessed and loved. That was a great feeling. So I took my arm and hugged him too.. So that he'd feel the same. The feeling that someone loves you, cares for you, accompanies you by your side.

When I started to feel sleepy, he whispered to me, "Mummy, I cannot sleep." I told him try to sleep. Then, after a while, he whispered to me again. I thought he would say the same thing and I was planning to ignore him.. Haha... Then he said, "Mummy, good night!" Wow!! He was so understanding! I opened my mouth and told him, "Good night Baby... I love you Baby...," and he replied, "I love you too mummy..." Then both of us fell asleep... Zzz.... Zzz....

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Approaching December - Gathering time!!!

Yesterday we were all busy with month-end closing preparation. My colleague was rushing, trying to finish her jobs and left the office on time, as she had an appointment with her church friends (there was a church activity and happened to be her birthday, so she didn't want to miss it out). I stayed back until 7pm, finishing my colleague's job and also rushed to do other things so that when I go back to work on Monday, I'd have myself prepared for the month-end closing.

My other colleague, Wee, and I went off office together, took MRT to Serangoon NEX. My other friends were already inside the food court waiting for us. All of us had a quick dinner before heading to Party World, a karaoke place. It's our first time trying the karaoke there. Usually we went to other places, which were usually located at city area.

At the entrance, we were explained about the charges. They offered us to purchase liquor. Since the prices were quite reasonable and there were 6 of us, we decided to buy the 2 bottles of Jim Beam plus 4 jug of mixers (waived off 8 pax cover charge). If we can't finish, we can keep the bottle there for 2 months.

Lam, Wee, PY, me, Joyce, ET
We're the usual khaki (people who have same interest) for singing karaoke. Hehehe... Although our voices were not good, we didn't criticize or laugh on it, but just enjoying the whole process, ignoring our weakness and be fun with it. We felt comfortable singing and dancing together. If you notice, there was only 1 guy among us hahaha... He is my colleague too, working together with me. I knew him from my previous working place. Since before, he had already liked to sing karaoke. I had asked him to join karaoke with my other friends and we were all very comfortable. So once in a while, we would arrange one, sometime we'll ask other friends as well, and had fun together.

We chose the songs that were shown on the other screen. We can select many language song, such as Chinese, Cantonese, Hokkien, English, Malay/Indonesian, Korean, etc. Since we went together for few times, we knew what songs that our friends like and used to sing, so we'd choose the song just like that. And when the song appeared, we'd ask the person to sing. Hahaha... They chose mostly Chinese songs since Chinese is common language here. I sang some of Chinese songs (but sometimes I would sing wrongly - didn't know how to read the words... hahaha...), English songs, and some Indonesian songs - obviously the rest didn't understand what I was singing about, but they just listened to the rhymes and beats.

Our friend, Wee, was having sore throat and lost her voice but she was still joining us. She drank the whiskey with green tea too and ended up having a headache. She tried to get asleep lying on the sofa, then after a while, she was vomiting. But she felt much better after vomiting. Since she couldn't sing, she took out her Ipad and played her farm and other games while listening us singing. She is a persistent player of those wasting time game - that's how I called it hehe...

Something like this..... hahaha....
We drank, sang, and dance. Lucky the songs were mixed. PY chose some sad songs. Before she even sang, we'd already feeling sad... hahahahaha...... (usually the broken heart songs). Gangnam style was chosen as well, but none of us knew how to sing it. So the picture above would explain how our situation was... hahahahaha........ :D


We were singing from 8 to 12am. Finally it was over... Lam was quite high. He was very happy able to sing with us and released his stress. PY and him was singing together in the last few songs and they were so entertaining... hehe... Wee felt much better too.. You could see her smiling on the photo above, was taken before we went back. Oh ya, ET left us slight earlier as she wanted to catch the last MRT, that's why she was no more be seen in the last few photos.

At the entrance, before we went back home :) Christmas is coming soon.....
Before we left, PY distributed early Christmas presents to each of us. Thank you PY!! We entered December now. In less than one month, we'll embrace a new year again. How time flies. Although time passes so fast without we knowing it, I just hope our friendship remains in many more years to come..... Thank you all!! It was a great session and see you again in 2 months time :)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Minor durian season

Durian - King of fruit

Last weekend, we went to our old house market for breakfast. I was craving for vegetarian wanton noodle while hubby and son were having kway chap. After that, we had a walk in a neighborhood and we saw a lot of durian stalls!!! The stalls were only around when there was a durian season. When passing by the place, we could smell its aroma... hmmmm..... It's been quite some time I didn't taste it - (the last one was during National Heritage Food Promotion at place where I work, some where in August). Since we took public transport back home, we didn't buy any, because the smell was very strong and bring durian to public transport (bus and MRT) was not allowed. You couldn't even bring the durian into TAXI. The driver has the right to refuse you for boarding, because the smell is very hard to disappear and some people don't like the smell at all. Too bad... I could only swallow my saliva and left the market without it.

We stay in new area, where the eating place, market, shops, and other basic facilities like clinic, dentist are not within a distance. We have to take bus, LRT, bicycle to go there. So, don't even think of having durian stalls nearby. And this evening, my mother-in-law brought back a packet of durian home. She said she 'smuggled' the styrofoam packed durian into her bag and went back home by bus and MRT. Hahaha... She knows I love durian the most and she brought that home for me. She even took a risk of embarrassment if being caught hehehe...  So touched!!

Mangosteen - Queen of fruit
However, today my hubby took the company's car and brought us for dinner, also to shop groceries. He knows I love durian very much and since he will only go back to work next Monday, he suddenly allowed me to bring some durian back too. Usually he was very strict, didn't allow durian to be put inside the company's car, scared the smell was too strong and remain inside the car. So I wouldn't miss the opportunity and bought another 3 packets of durian back home hahaha..... I also bought mangosteen as they believe that it will cool down the body (eating durian can make your body heaty).



We opened up the packet and ate it once we reached home. Hmm.... nice... The textures were soft and it was sweet with some bitterness. I ate more than one packet on my own... hahaha... Usually I can eat more than that... but now I can't eat too much and too sweet things. So we keep the remaining balance inside our fridge so tomorrow we still can enjoy it slowly.... ^^
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