Life is about choices

Not something new, but it’s a reminder from the conversation with Edgar this afternoon.

Some things are destined to be, like which family you are born into, who are your parents etc. But who you are as a person, what you do, your lifestyle , habits etc, you decide.

Stop complaining your life is horrible. If you don’t like it, do something to change it. If you are unhappy, then do something that makes you happy. You don’t like to drink coffee, and choose to drink tea.

If you feel overworked and tired, take a break. You will find yourself a more efficient worker when you are recharged. You CAN choose to take a break and continue with work, or you can force yourself to finish it first before taking a break. Find a way that suits you most, and make the choice.

#Thrive

It’s a date!

Counting down to 415pm. I can’t help but feel excited.

Edgar Tang replied to my mail, and we have arranged to meet.

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How I feel now is a fraction of what Edgar felt about meeting Timothy Ray Brown- The Berlin Patient.

Learn and #thrive

Education is always a good investment. I’m not saying everyone should get a MBA, but any form of self improvement.

It can be in the form of buying good books to read and improve your skills, or taking classes, short term courses.

It’s been 7 years since I graduated from university. Looking back at my working years, I’m glad I’ve taken a course, or attended a conference once in every of my working year.

Knowing this is a fast moving digital and social world, it’s constant learning.

Learning and to get better, that’s how I #thrive!

Thoughts after watching “I hugged the Berlin Patient”

I watched the documentary movie “I hugged the Berlin Patient” today, by Edgar Tang. The movie was produced in 2013, and I’ve only watched it today.

I came across the movie on iTunes. Googled about the movie, and found it interesting enough to buy it to watch on my iPad.

The Berlin Patient- who is he?

He is Timothy Ray Brown, the first person in the world to be cured of HIV and Leukemia with a stem cell transplant.

Edgar Tang had a dream, a crazy one. Without much details, he went to Berlin in search of leads for interviews. Very inspiring spirits. I can sense his passion, especially having been in the TV/broadcast industry for 6 years, I know how difficult/easy it can be to get a show out. Sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you wished lady luck is on your side. Unpredictable.

I found it so relatable also because Tim recovered from Leukemia. Though not the first man to be cured of Leukamia, but he had relapses after 2 transplants. No one says with a transplant, you definitely will have a clean bill of health. Edgar, he is a cancer survivor, he had lymphoma.

Each time I come across any blood disorder or leukemia profiles, I get overwhelmed with emotions. I lost 2 very important people in my life to Leukemia, 2 warriors. First it was Queena- a good friend who made a big difference in my secondary school life, then it was Melvin, my dearest baby brother.

The movie “I hugged the Berlin Patient” has an interesting narrative. It wasn’t as simply as Edgar telling his adventure and Tim’s story on camera. I don’t want to be a spoiler and share the details. Edgar’s effort deserves to be watched and appreciated.

To be honest, I didn’t think I would be so touched by the show.

I have a habit, to write to people to tell them how I feel about their product (be it a book, blog post etc), even when I don’t know them. So I went online to search for possible ways to contact Edgar. I found him on LinkedIn, and given my premium account, I can write InMails to people who are not my contacts. So I wrote to him to thank him for the awesome show. I don’t expect a reply from Edgar, though it will be nice to have one.

This show will not let you understand the pain of a cancer patient. But you will see how hard the patients fight for a way to recover, but how difficult it is in reality. Even when you do recover, the very toxic chemotherapy leaves you with nasty side effects that you have to live with for the rest of your life.

I strongly encourage you to watch it. Especially if you do not know who is “The Berlin Patient”.

“Sleep your way to the top!”

Quoting from Arianna Huffington, “sleep your way to the top!”. A lot of us are sleep deprived now. We always hear such lines , “There’s too much to do!”, “I’m too busy!”, “I wished I could sleep more!”.

Before Ms Huffington had her burnout, sleep has always been very important to me. Quality sleep that is. And that’s why I agree with her, sleep is just so so important. Less sleep= less productivity.

Our jobs require us to think a lot everyday, and it is a lot of brain power. To expand the additional brain capacity, I must say sleep is a catalyst to help us achieve that.

We sleep better, we think better, and we work better. So, let’s sleep the way to the top together!

#Thrive!

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Soul searching: Peranakan Museum

Inspired by the book Peranakan Museum Guide, I visited Peranakan Museum on Saturday, 10 Jan 2015. Better late then never, me the hokkien peranakan has never been to this museum. (Visit the museum to find out the different types of Peranakans- Malacca Peranakans, Penang Peranakans, Hokkien Peranakans etc.)

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

In case you do not know, Singaporeans get free entry to museums, remember to bring your identification card!

Admission sticker

Admission sticker

I was first amazed by the different types of Peranakans. So shameful, I didn’t know there are so many types, and call myself one!

Some of the exhibits were familiar to me. Not because of the popular show by MediaCorp, Little Nonya 《小娘惹》, but because my grandmother used to have them at home. My grandmother used to stay with me, until the day she passed away on 17th May 2000. (No way I will forget because my birthday is on 18th May.)

Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

Picture of a Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

This picture reminded me of my grandmother, and she’s fondly known as “Mama”. (Or also known as Satu Ah Ma- because she speaks Malay, and Satu means 1 in Malay.) I’ve seen her younger days photos, and she looked like this! Slim, and gorgeous in the Sarong Kebaya. I’ve worn a Sarong Kebaya before, and it belonged to Mama. That was during my secondary school days in Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, we were celebrating Racial Harmony Day.

Different Sarong Kebayas

Pretty Sarong Kebayas on display

When a Nonya dons her Sarong Kebaya, you can’t miss the different jewelleries and accessories. Even during mourning period, there are silver and pearl accessories to go with the dressing.

I went to the museum alone, but it was not boring at all. I spent a good 3 hours roaming in the museum, taking lots of photographs. It took me more than a week to sort out 300+ photos!

For those who prefer to have a guide, there are free guided tours in the museum at selected timings. You might want to check with the museum for the schedules.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am a Peranakan! I think it’s also because I am one, that’s why I am gifted with a taste for good food, and also love for cooking. Pretty sure it’s in the blood that’s why I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and preparing food for people.

I was so intrigued by this scene. A bibik in the kitchen, talking about what to do/cook for that day! Older female Peranakans are called Bibik, and they are very strict in the kitchen! Somehow it reminds me of Mama, her looks.

Bibik in the kitchen

Bibik- what you call an elder Peranakan lady

There are so much to explore, although many familiar sights, but some are completely new to me. Afterall I didn’t grow up in a typical Peranakan family. When I was a baby, I stayed in a Kampong in Yio Chu Kang area with my maternal grandparents, and moved to HDB when I was 18 months. From then on, my life was about the HDB story.

Furnitures like these mirrors are new to me. I’ve never seen them in person before.

Mirror 3

#Mifie, Mirror and Me!

Mirror 2

Another #Mifie. Mirror and Me!

A wedding bed

A wedding bed

If you are interested in finding out more about Peranakan culture, do visit the museum. And you can also read about it, Emily of Emerald Hill is strongly recommended! (And if you are a tourist coming to Singapore, you might be lucky enough to watch it on stage if the timing fits!)

A visit to the museum

This trip definitely taught me a lot, who am I, what are my roots. I hope you enjoy the place as much as I do!

#Thrive!

 

 

Keep Baking and Optimize

Every year without fail I’ll bake pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year. It’s a recipe passed down by my ex-neighbour. There’s no secret to my pineapple tarts, I’ve shared the recipe with so many people.

Everyone tells me my pineapple tarts are so buttery and delicious. Some tried my recipe but they can’t achieve the same results. The only reason I can think of, it’s the mood and heart you put into the tarts.

I used to bake a lot more, not just during Chinese New Year period but also during Mooncake Festival, Christmas etc, and I’ll bring to school or office to share with friends and teachers. My teachers from Nanyang Junior College can share those sweet memories.

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In December 2014 edition of National Geographic magazine, it talked about food as a culture, and how it brings people together. It’s so inspiring and relatable. It was mentioned that when you cook for people, you need to feel happy, so the food will be delicious, and the people eating it will be happy.

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While my pineapple tarts are already so well received, I want to make it better. Baking is fun, I enjoy it, and making the taste better can be so rewarding. And my happiness can be shared with people who eats the food.

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So this time round, I experimented how to make pineapple tarts taste even better. Optimize. (So says a digital/social person) I looked around for a different brand of butter, and modified the baking temperature and times, of different permutations to see what works better. Jolly fun.

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No one taste is perfect, but the result was encouraging. Becoming better is a continuous process, regardless of what it is. I’ll continue to bake and optimize. Mission: To share good food and happiness with love!

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Learning Cantonese

Learning languages is a fun thing. Cantonese is a common language in my everyday life. A lot of people I know speak the language, fortunately I’ve never tried speaking it, though I can understand when people speak the language.

When it comes to learning something, all you need is a little motivation. And I found mine to learning how to speak Cantonese. I spent some time looking for Cantonese classes that I can attend, and sent in my enquiry. Waiting for the school to come back to me.

At the same time, I went onto YouTube to look for videos on learning Cantonese. (I used to watch YouTube videos when learning my Japanese.) In this world and age, just Google or YouTube for answers!

I found this very interesting YouTube channel, and eventually the website that provides free lessons, and you get notes and handouts free just by signing up with them. The website is www.cantoneseclass101.com.

Finding someone to practice Cantonese with me won’t be difficult. Not bragging, but I don’t think it will be that difficult to master Cantonese!

Another way to #Thrive!

祝福是一种幸福

或许大家已经忘了,我在大学是修中文系的。听说读写,当然难不倒我。

最近有很深的感触,旁观身边的人事物,不禁觉得祝福他人其实是对自己的一种幸福。

已经过去的事就让它过去吧。耿耿于怀,只是对内心的一种负担。你不但得不到快乐,还会带来许多悲伤。

一个人幸福与否,其实是一种态度。想着不开心的往事,与噩梦缠绵,无法释怀,这样的心态,只是在惩罚自己。

我很欣赏台湾励志作家何权峰,他的佛学观念,给了我很多启示。我从他的文字学到了很多。

“祝福”和“幸福”,看到他们共同之处了吗?

“福”字,的确。

学会祝福他人,你会得到幸福。

放点心思学会放下仇恨,对所有的人抱着美好的愿望,你会发现往后的日子你很容易就会得到幸福。

祝福是一种幸福

心中没有怨恨,你的日子会很好过。

Imperfections

Your worth is not determined by others. You are worth based on who you are. You don’t live life in pain or happiness based on the scores other people give. People may view you with imperfections, but don’t let it get to you. Take the feedback constructively.

There’s no need to punish yourself with unhappiness or anger experienced by others. It belongs to them, not you. Instead, create happiness so that you can share to cheer unhappy people up.

Perfection, imperfection, all so relative. We all know milk is good for healthy bones growth, but it’s toxic to those lactose intolerant. It’s the same logic.

Yes everyone is different. But everyone deserves to be master of their own life and destiny.