Day 40: #Celebratelife365

Lunches recently are so much more fun. Have been meeting up with old friends for lunch. Today its with my primary school friend. We were classmates since primary 1, that makes 23 years of friendship. My primary school class is rather close knitted one, we still met up and have gatherings very often after graduation. Right now we have a group chat.

Time always passes by so quickly when you spend it with the right company. We had so much to catch up. An irony that this friend and I stay quite near each other, but we have to meet up in town because our offices are near.

I’m going to ask more friends the next time, and that can be another mini gathering.

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

The tissue paper uncle

I was at Middle Road on Tuesday, and I didn’t see the uncle. He’s the one I always go to for tissue papers. I felt uneasy.

So I went again yesterday, again, he wasn’t there. I got worried. I haven’t seen him in nearly a week, I hope he is alright.

I decided to try my luck again today. I was so glad to see him! But I saw him with a bag of medicine, different bottles of black mixture and he was taking them. I waited by the side for him to finish his medicine, I didn’t want to rush him. He didn’t see me. I had the $10 note in my hand. I gave a sigh of relief, uncle hasn’t been well. Phew, I’m glad to see him again. I don’t know why I have this emotional attachment with him, but I really don’t want anything terrible to happen to him.

I went up to him, passed him the note. I didn’t take any tissues from him today, I don’t need them. I have been buying from other aunties and uncles, but I don’t feel as strongly for them.

As we talk about SG50 this year, let’s not also forget this group of elderly. You can see them everywhere. With all the celebrations to thank them for their contributions, I also think there is this group who don’t ask for much. Let’s not forget them. Before we do any big campaigns to help them, let’s start work on our own first to help them.

#TributeToLKY: Dry your tears. Chin up. Move on.

Sunday, 29 March 2015, Singapore bade a tearful farewell to our FIRST Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Dark clouds gathered, heavy rains poured, but that did not stop many Singaporeans from lining up the streets to send Mr Lee Kuan Yew off. I stayed at home with my parents watching the live telecast on Television. I chose to stay at home to watch it on television for a few reasons. One is to support my friends in the newsroom, they have worked hard to bring you the coverage, especially this live coverage. I was cheering for Augustine and Glenda, especially. Yes, there were live streamings, but a part of me prefers to watch it on a TV, because I can pay attention to the details on a bigger screen, and with less distractions. Two, I don’t know how much I would cry, so I rather stay at home. I’ve cried in public many times, and I am not shy of crying in public. But this time round, I rather be private. Third, I really want to see Mr Lee through the whole journey, aptly put in Chinese, 全程目送. And lastly, I want to catch as much glimpses of Yipeng as I can. I was in the same junior college and university as him, and he was never stingy with his good mornings or hellos to me, and to others. I know he was a darling to his late grandfather, and my heart goes out to him. I lost my grandparents, I was close to them. The feeling was crap. I want to see Yipeng, and make sure he is holding it up. Many times, I wished I could give Yipeng a hug.

10 eulogies were delivered during the State Funeral. Both sons presented the first and the last. Mr Lee Hsien Loong started with his eulogy, and he did his best to keep his emotions in check. Though there were points when he shared more personal anecdotes, and his words choked up. Throughout his speech, he addressed his father as Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Every time he said that, I cringe. But it also gave me the strength and motivation to become stronger.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang closed the session with his eulogy, and we saw a son sharing his fondest memories of his “Papa”. Mr Lee shared how his father didn’t want the children to feel like a privileged group, and the kind of upbringing in the family. I’ve seen this for myself, after being schoolmates with Yipeng.

2 sons, 2 eulogies, we heard and saw the many faces of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Some people have asked why the ceremony at Mandai Crematorium is a private one. We should give Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his family some private moments. Since Mr Lee’s death, the familh has been in the limelight. Mr Lee Hsien Loong gave a final eulogy, and calls his father fondly by “Papa”. We need to give them the time and opportunity to grieve.

Some have said, Singapore will not continue to strive withour Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I beg to differ. He has left behind a legacy, and it’s now for us to build on it, and make Singapore even better. He gave up his life for Singapore, and we shed our tears because of his contributions. The dead will not return to life, but the living can continue the spirt of the dead. Personally having experienced the deaths of many closed ones, including Queena and my brother who died in their prime, I’ve learnt to see farewells in a postive light. Queena and my brother were outstanding young people, with a bright future, but God decided their time with us will be short. However short, they left behind many things to celebrate. They were both fighters, strong-willed, sweet-natured, caring and loving individuals. Similarly, we should also celebrate Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life. He has lived a fulfilled and meaningful life, and great achievements for us to celebrate.

We cry when in grieve, that is absolutely normal. But there will be a time when we will dry our tears, toughen up, move on, and make lives better. The physical self may have left, but spiritually, emotionally they will always be with us.

As Mr Lee Hsien Loong said today in his speech, what has Mr Lee Kuan Yew left for us. “Look around you.” He wouldn’t want us to destroy the beauty in Singapore with our tears. His policies, his plans, they were all meant to make strong Singaporeans who will shine in our own ways.

Rest in peace, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Today, I want to celebrate Mr Lee’s well-lived life. #Celebratelife365 #Thrive

Day 22: #celebratelife365

Stayed out later then usual today, on my way home now. I haven’t done this for a long time. Thankful for the peace and security in this country, my home.

#celebratelife365 #thrive

Day 19: #Celebratelife365

No mistake in the header. It’s day 19. I decided to skip a day on 23 March 2015, because it’s a sad day for me, a Singapore’s daughter.

The mood is still heavy, the pain is still raw.

I was working on my final paper for my marketing course, and I came across this article by Arianna Huffington. Huffington post launches Huffpost Gratitude. It is an initiative to encourage people to give thanks, and be more appreciative. This is exactly the same reason I started this #Celebratelife365 project.

Today, I saw my results for one of my marketing module’s final paper. I did very well. But it would be even tougher if I didn’t leave in a safe and peaceful environment that allowed me to work and study in. I thank our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew for providing us with a place we are all proud to call home.

He lived an eventful life. He made some tough decisions, and not pleasant. But as he lay there in the coffin, I hear kind words said of him. We get graded for our lives after we breathe our last. Thank you for living such an outstanding life, Mr Lee.

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

#RememberingLKY- When Mr Lee’s eyes met mine in SGH

Monday, 23 March 2015, Singapore lost our first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

As a nation, we mourn the lost of a strong man.

As a person, I am still trying to accept the fact that he is gone. Back in the days when I was still a journalist, there were already prep work for this day. “Today” was work to me. Now I am no longer part of the newsroom, “Today” I lost someone great. I knew this day will come, but it’s still a hard fact to accept.

I am very sure I will not feel so much grief at this point in time if I were a journalist. I have gone through the deaths close ones in my life, my grandparents, my brother. I had to see through their funerals, so much needed to be done. Grief hits me only much later. As I watch my ex-colleagues from the newsroom bringing reports of the wake, and documentaries remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew, I feel the loss. I am already missing this man. Singapore feels different, we the children of Singapore have lost our father.

I can still remember this one occasion when I met Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I was in SGH with my grandfather, and I was attending to my grandfather who was on the wheelchair. Mr Lee was with a few nurses, he was there for a medical checkup too. There, his sight caught mine. He gave me a grandfatherly smile. That was nearly 10 years ago, but it felt like yesterday. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is a tough man, but he showed me his soft side. He continued talking to the nurses, and they were all smiles. This scene kept replaying today. Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave me a good country to live in, safe and secure. A good education so that I can do my part and contribute to the society. As I type this, I can no longer control my tears. This is a story that I seldom share. Thinking of it now, I can see from his grandson’s eyes, Yi Peng, what a dear grandfather he was.

PM Lee statement– This is from our current Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, his “live” address at 8am on the passing of his father. I didn’t see a Prime Minister talking to the nation. I saw a son who just lost his father, and felt his pain of the loss. PM Lee first spoke in Malay, Mandarin then English. The address was short, merely 7 mins, but it must have felt like forever to PM Lee. When my brother passed away, I crafted 1 Facebook post to inform friends and relatives of our loss. It was a short message, but with every character I typed, it was a stab in my heart. PM Lee has my utmost respect for this statement.

I share this from social media, aptly recapping Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life- A life dedicated to Singapore. Thank you Mr Lee. #ThankYouLKY

Lee Kuan Yew Life

李光耀先生,感谢您对新加坡的奉献。

Why I stopped buying #tissuepapers

Tissue paper packs

I’ve stopped buying pocket tissues from shops for a long time. It was a conscious decision.

These tissue papers you see above are from one person- an uncle in wheelchair in Middle Road. He’s the same person I chose to “buy” tissue paper from in my earlier post in 2014.

There should be more. I’ve used some of them, and many times I see the uncle sleeping, so I just left the money on the tray and left.

It’s not only this uncle who is doing this “business”. There are so many others, and not just in Middle Road.

Most of them are old, on wheelchairs, and some are handicapped. What can we do to help them? How much can they earn by selling 3 packets of tissues for $1? (Maybe $2, I don’t know for sure, because I always give at least $5.)

I mentioned this to a friend, I want to do more to help them. How many packets of tissue papers do we need? How fast do we consume them?

My heart aches, especially when I see the elderly, and they are all alone without family to take care of them. These folks remind me of my grandparents. I love my grandparents dearly, and I did anything I could in the past to protect them when they were still around. This explains why I cringe each time I see old folks who are alone, and suffer just to earn some money to survive.

I have been thinking, what can I/we do to help these people who needs help? It’s obvious selling tissue papers won’t get them enough money for living expenses and medical bills.

I keep these packets as a constant reminder of how lucky I am. The collection will only grow. I get them faster then my consumption.

I will continue to #Stopbuyingtissues from the stores, and think of how I can help all of them better, not just one uncle.

#Oldfolks #Singapore

Purrrrfect!!!!

Cat cafes have been the talk of the town for a while in Singapore. I’ve never been to one, until today.

I used to be scared of cats, and it takes a while for me to warm up to them now. (Especially when they have super long nails!)

Out of curiosity, I went to The Company of Cats in Chinatown. (Yes, it’s so near my office, why go on a Sunday and not lunch time during weekdays you ask. I wanted to go with my colleagues last Friday, but we scratched the idea. I reckon it’s more relaxed to go on a weekend, after a photoshoot in Chinatown Heritage Centre. Took some photos for work.)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

One of the cats Lily was hiding below one of the chairs next to this mat, she just stood there so quietly!

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

She is a mama cat, and her son is Harry. He is such an active boy, climbing up and down, running everywhere. Of course, he has his quiet moments, when he’s taking a rest. He enjoyed the stroking and massage I gave him!

Meet Harry!

Meet Harry!

We went at 3pm. The cats are rather quiet, because it’s nap time. Some of them slept throughout, some just woke up, and some just got to sleep.

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn't bother himself with me!

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn’t bother himself with me!

I asked my friend who has a cat, he went with me to meet the cats, whether these cat cafes will survive. One such cafe, Cat Cafe Cuddles in Orchard shut down because it was said some cats died before the opening. So now there are 4 such cafes still in operation, and 1 cat museum- The Cat Museum.

Friend said most cat lovers would already have cats at home (like himself!), he thinks such cafes are just novelty, though he hopes they will survive. I do hope he is right, that these cafes will survive. Because I don’t have a cat at home, but I would love to have one. And for some people, they love pets but they cannot commit to taking care of them, especially for parents with kids asking for one. These cat cafes (or maybe dog cafes one day!) are places to spend some intimate cuddling time. But due to high overheads, and some for donations, the entrance fee to these cat cafes are not cheap. For The Company of Cats, it’s $14 for the first hour, and comes with a drink. There are food as well, but nothing too fancy. Yes, there is a loyalty card given, but that means having to spend $300 first, and you will get a free entry. For most families in Singapore, $300 is a lot of money, especially the middle class, which are often called the new poor.

Sandwich in the lunchbox

Sandwich in the lunchbox

I wouldn’t mind bringing my nephews or nieces to these cat cafes one day for outings. But I don’t think I can afford to do that every week, my pockets will bleed tremendously!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

But these felines are sooo cute and sweet, which I might drop by whenever I need to take a break from work! (since The Company of Cats is so near my office, and cats get closer to you after they warm up to you. I guess with repeat visits, they will remember me.)

Satisfied Saturday: Adonis Hotel/ Argo Restaurant in Purvis Street

The biggest hype of Purvis Street now is the cat museum, just newly opened yesterday, Friday, 9 Jan. I walked past it today, but I decided not to go in. I had plans for the day.

It was nearly 1.30pm, and I was really hungry. I wanted to go to my favourite porridge stall in Albert court food centre, but it was so packed, that I gave up. So I continued walking, past Bugis, nothing caught my eye. I walked and walked. Then I thought of Purvis Street, maybe I should go to Chin Chin and have a traditional Hainanese dish, 韭菜冬粉. (It’s a dish using chives and cellophane noodles. I haven’t had this dish for a few years!)

Before I reached Chin Chin, I saw a sign- Adonis Hotel. I walked past it, took a double take. I stood there for a second, the front looks like a restaurant to me. No way it’s a hotel, I thought! So I pull open the door and went it. I asked for their menu, and was told the set lunch is at $25++ for a 3 course. I was SUPER hungry, and the place looks really pleasant, so I found a seat and sat down.

Lavendar flower in cafe

Each table has a small pot of Lavendar.

The restaurant is called Argo. (I learnt about it after finishing the meal, when the staff came up to me to find out how I find the food.) It’s fairly new, just opened about 3 months ago, and they are currently in the process of beefing up their menu, therefore the current choices are rather limited.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

As you can see from the above picture, the front really doesn’t look like a hotel concierge! It’s quiet business for a Saturday, because it’s too new. There are too many places with awesome food in this area.

The 3 course meal comes with a soup as appetizer, a main, dessert and a drink. There are only 2 options for the main course, either Fish & Chips, or Prawn Aglio Olio. I chose the latter.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

It was Creamy Pumpkin Soup as starter. Because I love pumpkins, so I have very high standards of pumpkin dishes. The soup served had a silky texture. The soup was dense, but you won’t find it hard to stomach with too much cream. Bread was soft and yummy too! The olive oil spread on the bread was good!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

SMOOTH texture!

SMOOTH texture!

To be honest, I had my doubts about the place at first. But the soup started off on a right foot. Still hungry, I couldn’t wait for my pasta.

Prawn Aglio Olio

Prawn Aglio Olio

At first sight, I started drooling at those prawns! They look nearly transparent, and SO fresh!

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

The amount of garlic and olive oil in the pasta was generous! (Aglio Olio uses alot of oil by the way! If you are on a diet, then I advise you don’t eat Aglio Olio. It’s okay to have calories from YUMMY food!) And because I love spicy food, the chilli padi was SHIOK! (it’s not that spicy if you are worried, just don’t eat the chilli.)

I was really happy with my pasta. I didn’t expect it to be so good. The prawns are fresh (you can remove the shell easily) and springy, and you get quite a lot of them. The pasta was done al dente, and you get the aroma of garlic in a good aglio olio. The service staff did ask me if the serving of the food was sufficient after I finished my meal. I told her it’s just nice for me, because I am not a super big eater. I suspect it might not be enough for the guys.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The panna cotta was okay- really okay. It was quite dense, just like the one I had previously in Otto Ristorante, a famous Italian restaurant. (It’s fine dining- note your budget.)

Really glad that I found this place. I am already tempted to do a staycation at this place. They have a total of 19 rooms, and 6  types of them. Apart from the smallest one, the Quaint Queen having more rooms, the other 5 types have only 1 room each, and they are all themed. I saw pictures of the Suite Artist, which has an outdoor bathtub, I so want to do a staycation there!

Adonis/Argo- I will be back!

It was so much fun today, to discover Adonis Hotel, before my planned trip to the Peranakan Museum. Till next time!

Reading this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Read this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Thank you for this cup of water!

It’s a cup of water. A special cup of water.

I was reading my book in the cafe Pies & Coffee at Centrepoint, and my cup was empty.

Too engrossed in my reading, I wasn’t aware of the surroundings. A fresh cup of water was placed in front of me, and empty cup taken away. Nice surprise. That’s a sweet gesture, and showing we can have good customer service in Singapore.

Give compliment when it’s due, this is one of the small ways we can encourage Singaporeans to take up jobs in the service industry and not rely on low wage foreign workers.

Thank you! To the special one who served me this cup of water.

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