making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Happy Birthday, Father/ Grandfather

It is my father's 73th birthday today. 
Here is wishing you (father/ grandfather) the best of health (and memory) for the coming years! :)

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

MC Day 2

Even though I am still on medical leave, I had to respond to some urgent emails. :( Working while being on medical leave is not my idea of rest. :(

Monday, 28 April 2014

MC Day 1

It is a luxury just to rest but the coughing fits are not helping me to rest much. :(

Sunday, 27 April 2014


The fever is gone. But sore throat is still there and coughing has started. Thank goodness, no running nose. Trying my best to rest.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Still Down

I dragged myself to see the doctor in the morning after a night of feverish sleep. I was given four different kinds of medicine and two days of medical leave for the coming Monday and Tuesday. I needed complete rest. 
This is a really bad time for me to fall ill because the girls' examinations are within these two weeks. :( I had to keep myself away from them in case I pass them my virus. I also couldn't nag at them to study/ revise for their exams because of my sore throat.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Going Down

It started with a sore throat in the morning. By late afternoon, I had developed a low-grade fever. By night, the fever started fluctuating between 37.5 and 39C. As I was allergic to paracetemol, panadol, and aspirin, I used the ice pillow to try to bring my temperature down. Looks like I am going down fast, correction, I went down fast. :(

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sunset in Singapore

So far, this is the more beautiful sunset that I have seen since the start of 2014. It was taken a week ago on Good Friday from my apartment looking towards Botanic Gardens. 
The colours were amazing (mostly orange, red, pink) and it was also a fabulous sight to see the sun setting.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What School Era are You?

What can I say? Lol. 
My mother believes that education is the greatest treasure one can have. I think that belief has rubbed off on me. I continued on after my BA with a PGDE, a MA and a PhD. 
You Are Grad School
You are brilliant, studious, and even a little bit eccentric. You're willing to live life on your own terms.
You believe in education, and you want as much of it as you can get. No one can take your education away from you.

You are a geek at heart, and you love learning. You'd like to get paid to study and teach, even if those jobs are hard to come by.
And even if you can't work in academia, you'll always be an academic at heart. You love the idea of required reading.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Ok, show of hands, how many of you do read/ browse through the obituary section in the newspapers? Most people I know will not look at the obituary because of the taboo/ unluckiness link with death.
I know my parents do read the obituary, well most of people their age group do, because sometimes the obituary is the only way to find out what's happening with long-lost friends and business associates. 
I read the obituary too. Actually I have been doing that since I was 13 years old. I used to read the obituary section on my birthday because I like to know who have passed onto the next life on my birthday. I know some, if not most, would say it is a morbid ritual to have on one's birthday lol. However, as I grew older, I start to look at the obituary section on a daily basis not just on my birthday. As my parents have said, sometimes it is the best way of keeping in contact with long-lost friends and you can still be in time to pay your last respects. For that reason, I shall continue to read the obituary section everyday. 

Monday, 21 April 2014


During noon, I attended my friend's father's funeral service at the Mandai Crematorium. The funeral service was a beautiful one and it gave closure to many people. 
As I looked at my friend, I can't help but wonder what will I do if I am in his position. Although my parents have said that (touchwood!) if anything happens to them while overseas, please just cremate them. It is a lot easier to bring back the ashes and if I want to show my filial piety, it would have been while they are living and not when they are dead. Yes, that's my parents for you, very practical people. However, I may have closure but I am not sure if others would have closure if I do follow my parents' after death orders/ requests, namely my brother and his family who are in UK and the tons of friends they have in Singapore (and to a lesser extent, my parents' family who are in Taiwan and Malaysia).

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Wake II

It was the second day of helping out at my friend's father's wake. I was there from 9:30am until 10pm. Another long day but again, really glad to have been of help with the reception and collection of bai jin. 
I took my "job" very seriously and I worked out a really good system of collecting the bai jin. 
My friend told me that his family was very surprised that the bai jin tallied with what was recorded! Of course, 10 years of training in doing research - collecting data methodologically - was applied to the collection of bai jin. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014


I was helping out my good friend and colleague at his father's wake. The family needed someone to help with the reception and the collection of bai jin (white gold or cash contributions that family and friends would give to the grieving family). I agreed to help out. As someone who is not related to either side of the family, I could concentrate on my "job" and thus leaving the family free to "entertain".
I was there at 8am and only left at 10:30pm. It was a long day but I was glad that I could help the family.   

Friday, 18 April 2014

Water Lilies

It's Good Friday public holiday. I went for breakfast at Botanic Gardens with a former neoghbour. After breakfast, we went for a walk. I have a favourite spot: Plant House which is a historical landmark in Botanic Gardens. The Plant House is no longer a house, its roof has been replaced with beams. It is a charming, quiet spot, often missed by visitors. :) 
To my delight, water lilies are blooming everywhere at the Plant House. It is one of my favourite flowers. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mental Break

My friend and colleague whose father suddenly passed away in China is now back in Singapore. I am very relieved because I can finally take a mental break. :P I was on high mental alert because I was helping my friend with the translation of Chinese, or with the search for information while he and his family were in China. I dared not delay because of the urgency of their situation in China.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hoopla Coffee

I went to this cafe, Hoopla some time back. It is located at Infinite Studios. I like Hoopla for its quiet ambiance, its quirky character, its comfort food and its spacious space. :)
One of fancy murals in Hoopla
Another fancy mural in Hoopla

Refreshing tea drinks
Baked eggs - a little peppery but delicious
Egg Benedict - my comfort food
Hoopla Coffee & Kitchen is a good place to have a good meal, to catch up with friends, and to do serious writing. :)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I am a Blue Pencil

Mostly true except for the last part lol.
You Are a Blue Pencil
You are down to earth, very reliable, and completely trustworthy. When help is needed, you like to step up.
Absolutely true!
You are naturally responsible, and you can't relax until everything you need to do is done. You even enjoy planning out your free time.

Sometimes I can be too responsible for my own good. :P

You don't like chaos, trouble, or drama. You try to prepare for the worst, and you like the intellectual challenge of thinking ahead.

Yes, I like to plan for contingencies. 
You would make a great accountant, financial analyst, or data scientist. You can look at all the facts objectively.

Data scientist, yes. But a definite NO to accountant and financial analyst.   

Monday, 14 April 2014

Childhood Memories: Cream Cake

Another one of my childhood memories: cream cakes (which is old school now lol). But during my childhood, it is the only kind of fancy cakes that we have. I recall my mother used to buy such cakes from Robinsons as we lived in the Orchard area, on Devonshire Road. Yes, you heard right, I said Robinsons. Robinsons used to have a cafe when it was housed in The Specialists' Shopping Centre which has been torn down to make way for the new development.
Now you can still find such cream cakes in neighbourhood bakeries and they are very reasonably priced too. Occasionally I will indulge myself with a piece or two lol. :)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sobering Moment

A dear friend and colleague's father passed away suddenly yesterday afternoon while on tour in China. Friend was frantically arranging for flight yesterday night, etc to get to China to repatriate the body back to Singapore. Due to my proficiency in both written and spoken Chinese, I was helping to read Chinese documents and summarising into English for him, checking up the contacts for undertakers in China and helping to make calls to them, etc. Friend and brother managed to fly off last night and are currently in China dealing with the repatraiting of the body. I really hope all goes well for them.
I suddenly realised that my parents are out of Singapore between 4- 6 months at a stretch, usually in Xiamen, China or in Taiwan and (TOUCHWOOD!) something similar could befall on them...
A truly sobering moment for me. Would I be able to handle it?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

"Simple" Home-Style Family Dinner

My mother invited my paternal relatives over for dinner. As usual, she cooked up a feast. :)
Although some of the dishes looked simple, they were not simple/ easy to cook as in time was needed to get the flavours in, etc. Examples are the braised duck and bead curd, pickled cucumber salad, Japanese soft-boiled eggs, savory glutinous rice with pork and mushroom, lotus root soup, fried ikan bilis (anchovies) with peanuts. We all had our favourites. My daughters love the chicken curry, duck, soft-boiled eggs and glutinous rice. I love every dish that my mother cooked. My relatives too as all of them went back for seconds! :)

Friday, 11 April 2014

That Time of the Year II

No, this is not about income tax filing. There is something else that happens around this time of the year too. 
Work appraisal! 
I had my work appraisal this morning.
I thought it went pretty well. :) 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Mplus Syntax

I "learnt" how to use Mplus recently. It was more of receiving coaching from a colleague who is very proficient in using Mplus than attending actual training seminars/ workshops. I have always used SPSS which in a way is quite idiot-proof for people like me who are statistically-challenged. 
I had to run some confirmatory factor analysis using Mplus. The most difficult part was the Mplus syntax. A comma missing, or an extra something, it wouldn't run the analysis. I was so frustrated. After more coaching, I was finally getting a little better at it but still a long way from writing the syntax. 
Praying hard to the Statistics God not to make my life harder...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Recess Time

As I haven't had breakfast, I decided to buy food from the canteen at my counselling school during the second recess (10:30am -11am). I lined up as the students did. I was surprised and delighted when one by one, my counsellees came over to say "Hi" to me. 
You see, some students don't want to be seen as different from the other students and so, by seeing a counsellor would already make them stand out as "different". But I am glad that my counsellees are not bothered by being "different". It showed me that they have confidence in themselves. :)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Childhood Memories: Ouke no Monshou Manga (尼罗河的女儿 or 王家の紋章)

One of my precious childhood memories is reading manga. As I mentioned previously in my blog post, 
Manga, I started reading manga as a child when I visited Taiwan annually. Unfortunately I can only read manga in Taiwan as Singapore didn't have such manga books then. No matter how many manga I have read, I always remember the first manga series I ever read which was a rage then in Taiwan. Its Chinese translated name is 尼罗河的女儿 or 王家の紋章 or its Japanese name, Ouke no Monshou (English translated name, Daughter of the Nile). Every year I go back to Taiwan, I have to reread the series from start but I would never finish reading because by then there would have been additional volumes that came out during the year of absence. Actually, to date, I have NOT finish reading the Ouke no Monshou Manga series (尼罗河的女儿 or 王家の紋章)!
I managed to find Manga (尼罗河的女儿 or 王家の紋章) translated into English and hosted on some of the manga websites. :) However, I am now back to reading it in Chinese (on Chinese manga websites) as there were some missing chapters and volumes on the English websites. Reading it in Chinese definitely brings me back to my childhood with the exception that I can NOW read it openly in front of my mother without her scolding me about reading rubbish! Lol. She only rolled her eyes. :P
By the way, Ouke no Monshou (尼罗河的女儿) is still on-going!! After so many years lol. :P      

Monday, 7 April 2014

PhD Holders vs Projector

How many PhD holders are needed to set up the projector?
One of our colleagues needed to set up his notebook to link to the projector for our meeting. However, the technician wasn't around so we were on our own. It started with one, then two, then three and in the end there were 3 PhD holders, 1 PhD candidate, and 1 manager who were mulling around the controls and trying to work out how to fix up the projector. Unfortunately after 15 minutes, still nothing. In the end, it was another manager, the 6th person, who managed to set it up lol. 
In the end , none of the PhD holders were able to fix up the projector. LOL. What my mother said on an occasion suddenly makes sense - the more educated you are, the more stupid you become. Perhaps we stop being an all-rounder once we started specialising in our area of knowledge. Perhaps we stop learning about other areas unrelated to our area of expertise. Perhaps we also become more adverse to taking risk... Perhaps we should start learning again about everything else around us. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Untamed Beauties

Untamed beauties of Singapore after a morning of rain.
Mimosa or Touch-Me-Not
Creeping Daisy - cheery yellow
Honolulu Creeper - pretty pink
Almost missed seeing this beauty
Malayan Eyebright
Hope to take more photos of such untamed beauties of Singapore. :)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Qingming Festival II

Today we paid respects to my Malaysian ancestors. Again, we offered a simple prayer to my late paternal grandparents and my other ancestors as we could not go to Sibu, Malaysia to tend to their graves.
Apparently the actual Qingming Festival falls on today 5th April. However, we have always paid respect to my Taiwanese ancestors on 3rd April every year.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Purple Test

Purple is one of my favourite colours, besides green and blue. :)
You Are Free Spirited
You can't be tied down in this life, even if you would like to be more conventional at times. You need freedom too much!
You seek a life without many rules, but it's not because you're wild. You are quietly adventurous - needing time and space to explore.

People envy your unconventional ways, but you don't feel like a rebel. You just have to do what works for you.
You are more fragile and sensitive than you seem. You can be hurt by the things people say to you, but you don't let it show.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Qingming Festival

Today we have to pay respects to my Taiwanese ancestors as it is Qingming Festival. As we could not be in Taiwan to tend to their graves, we said a simple prayer to my late maternal grandparents and my other Taiwanese ancestors. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

That Time of the Year

It is that time of the year again. Filing of Income Tax! 
One can either file the income tax via forms or online which have different due dates of 15 April and 18 April respectively.
I have completed my e-filing of my income tax return. I have to say that it is getting easier to file income tax now in 2014 as compared to what I first filed my income tax in the late 1990s. Now in 2014, it only took me about 3 minutes to complete and submit my income tax return. :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


AFB = Alpha Female Boss
Some of us are unfortunate enough to have such AFBs during our working lives. For those of you who haven't encounter such AFBs, thank your lucky stars! Lol.

AFBs can make your life a misery. However there are articles which give you tips on how to deal with them. Below are just three such articles. Good Luck. :)

Dont let alpha female boss get you down

Dealing alpha people

Dealing with alpha types