Giggles and gurgles


There was Squirt, Popartgirl and Me at Billy Bomber’s.

There was, also, a table cramped with lots of food. Which explains Popartgirl’s look of pure ecstasy.

There were some jokes made about Squirt’s magnificent “Lefty” and “Righty” acting as trays for her husband in the plane when they go on their honeymoon to the land of Ricola (I am sure Rie and Hucks will know where it is!).

Popartgirl and I then started yodeling in mimicry of the very hilarious ad (“reeeeecolaaaaa!”).

There was mention of the gorgeous pink polka-dotted satin slip that we had gotten for her as an early birthday present, and how Squirt will always imagine us waving to her whenever she wears it (very kinky, I know).

Popartgirl and I were also devising ways in which we can siphon the ang pows from her wedding.

Squirt says that we are like therapy to her, since we never fail to make her the butt of our very nonsensical jokes. She then starts gurgling like a baby who is playing peekaboo and we tell her to shut up.

I think she loves us. Yay.


Love what you do

“!(imgcenter)!(Solitary boat at Krabi)”:

After merrily calling everyone I know a wuss at some point of time in their lives, it is rather fitting that this embarrassing title gets thrown in my face. By myself.

Because suddenly, when I get what I thought I had wanted, I feel frightened and unsure.

I knew I was never going to last very long at the Big Company. Although I enjoy a good working relationship with my boss and colleagues, it wasn’t a job that I could see myself doing for the next three years. Throw in the mis-management and bullying, and the stage was basically set for me to leave.

The one thing that has made me happy is writing. While a colleague confided that writing becomes a chore for her when it is a job, the opposite is true for me. I loved my first job, I loved meeting people and knowing that everyday is different.

But after more than a year of doing nothing but churn out factory work eight hours a day, I feel rusty and socially awkward.

The tech world was easy to integrate into because it was a relatively small community and the people were often genuine and nice. But the Offer involves a lot of socialising with the creative, advertising types and yes, though it reeks of stereotyping, creative, advertising types are often not quite the genuine and nice sort.

I will need to emerge from the safe but utterly boring cocoon to go into a world where I will have mingle, dig out scoops and attend events. I won’t be able to go to the gym at 6pm, I may not be able to take up the instructor class that I had been planning to.

Can I still do it?

Another reason for this reluctance is due to the fact that I am nursing a tiny hope of receiving a call from a certain publishing house that had rejected my application three years ago when I was fresh out of school. I never applied again, till now, because I didn’t think I would have a smidgen of chance. Now, there are people on the sidelines, experienced writers themselves, urging me to try again because they think I will make a good candidate and that I shouldn’t let a past failure set me back.

But the hiring process for this company is notoriously long and I would need to make a decision on the Offer soon.

Perhaps I should seek inspiration in Steve Jobs’ now-famous Commencement speech at Stanford University: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Everything Else

Regina Spektor’s Samson

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But they’re just old light, they’re just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

I closed my eyes and laid down on the lounge chair beside the pool, earphones in my ears. The bright city lights shimmered behind my eyelids and a gentle evening breeze blew. The night was peaceful and almost perfect.

And then Regina Spektor‘s “Samson” started playing.

Her voice is mellow and unpolished, her songs, beautiful lyrics that tell stories of love, deep emotions and quirky adventures. And this graceful combination serves to be her strongest attraction.

Her songs, always accompanied by lilting piano melodies, have the power to set my mind adrift, bringing my imaginations to life. One could almost imagine a strong but gentle Samson cradling his lover (pre-Delilah) in bed as they are bonded by the love they shared. It’s a bittersweet, simple relationship that preceded Samson’s fame, a relationship that turned into nothing more than a distant dream. Nobody mourns for the demise of that love except her, nobody even remembers who she is.

You are my sweetest downfall

What a beautiful dream. Go catch it.

The organised chaos, Two of Us


It’s now 3.09pm and the boyfriend is still nowhere in sight. He was supposed to pick me up at “two plus” (in his own words) and at 2.40pm, he called and said he was still at home and needed a shower. Go figure.

I’ve been bugging him to get tickets for Phantom of the Opera since March and nope, no sign of the tickets. I’ve sent him a list of potential venues for the wedding and nope, no comments as yet. He’s supposed to get his mother to pick out an auspicious date for the wedding and I doubt he has done that. And he actually got mad at me when I pointed out that procrastination is his middle name and I can’t entrust certain tasks to him during an argument.

One of these days, this dumb quirk will drive me over the edge and I will explode and kick him so hard he will end up in China or beyond (despite the fact that he is more than twice my size).

Am I annoyed? You bet. Men and their stupidity.

Health Goddess



Feeling alone and helpless

So this is how it feels like, to know that something unwanted and possibly harmful is growing in your body. It may not come remotely close to the scale of devastation reserved for growths like tumours and cancers but it is certainly enough to shake me to the core.

As I laid on the bed in the clinic as the doctor examined me closely, I froze, not because of the chill of his gentle, probing fingers, but from the sense of helplessness. I couldn’t think, my mind was just not processing anything else other than the doc’s instructions to breathe deeply to minimize the discomfort.

And then it was over and time for the unpleasant diagnosis. While part of me was relieved that it was nothing life-threatening or serious, I was genuinely distraught that my body could not be in control, could not stop this invasion from happening. It made me want to curl up and be alone, it made me question if I haven’t been treating my body like a temple that is meant to be worshipped and taken care of. I thought I did but it probably wasn’t enough.

But thank heavens for little mercies. Hopefully, with a faithful adherence to the course of medication, I will be well again.

It may not have been anything remotely menacing but it definitely served as a timely and sharp wake up call for me. Youth is not a certainty against everything.

Two of Us

The art of little apartments

Because I firmly believe in doing my homework earlier (oh, how I wish I had this sort of resolution when I was a student), I have been scouting around design sites in order to get some ideas for our little East End.

We are going to be low on budget and it’s highly unlikely that we will be hiring an interior designer. I’m not exactly the most innovative person when it comes to design since all I am good at is appreciating the aesthetic beauty of things but not putting them together. I foresee the dude is going to have to be my practical guiding light (putting his foot down and saying “no, no, no”) and both he and Trevor will have to be the creative ones.

Thank goodness for the Internet then. A quick Google search is able to help me uncover some of the more popular and infinitely informative sites that have given my ideas some discernible shape.

Apartment Therapy‘s Smallest Coolest Apartment contest site is one of the best resources out there. If I had thought East End was tiny, I was proven undoubtedly wrong for some of the apartments featured were little less than half the size of East End. But through good design principles, a unifying theme and ingenious use of space and colours, these apartments look a million dollars.

Another helpful site for those on perpetual shoestring budgets is Ikea Hacker. It features cool creations from readers who transform their non-descript Ikea furniture into objects with entirely different purposes. Drawer mats become tote bags and (this is my favourite) a daybed is turned into a cosy corner for two!

Design*Sponge focuses on all aspects of the interior design process, from furnishings to decorations and often draws the spotlight to little online stores that sell unique products.

Of course, who could talk about interior design without mentioning MoCo Loco where all things beautiful, modern and exquisite are showcased. MoCo Loco is also good for quirky things that you wouldn’t find in your neighbourhood furniture mall.

It really is quite cool looking at all those gorgeous designs and I feel as if my mind has opened up quite a bit. In fact, I might even invest in “How to live in small spaces” and “Storage: Get organised” by the maestro of interior design himself, Terence Conran.

One last online resource that I turn to is Flickr. It’s amazing how many breathtaking pictures of apartments are taken all around the globe. One of my favourite finds is OM Home and I am loving the clean look and simple lines that their apartment sports.

“!(imgcenter)!(Striking monochrome)”:

Health Goddess


It’s funny how getting drenched to the bone and splashing around in the mud could make me feel so good.

Having not ridden a bike since the days of Ubin in ancient 2002, I was feeling jittery about what I termed my “jelly legs”. Coming from a girl who wobbles as she cycles and can’t make turns, it’s kind of understandable.

But it was really, really great.

When we first started the trail at Mandai, which is supposedly excellent for beginners, I was nervous. My bike wouldn’t go straight and I kept veering from left to right. But thankfully, the guys were patient and awfully nice about waiting for me and I lost my self-consciousness after a while.

It was quite exciting navigating the trail, getting around the mud and the array of rocks, mud and branches that are on the path. The slopes were nothing treacherous and whizzing down the bumpy slopes gave me quite a dizzying high. Zul and TZ were always behind me, exhorting me to gently release and squeeze the brakes whenever the path started sloping.

And then it started raining. Or rather, it poured.

It wasn’t really that bad getting soaked and on a bike while in the middle of a forested area, honestly. The fun was only dampened when the rain kept pelting into my eyes, such that I was cycling with one eye for quite a while. For a good five seconds, I even had both eyes closed because I had gotten into a rhythm and didn’t want to stop.

We sought shelter under the KJE bridge for a while before heading back and boy, was the trail wet. But it was great fun splashing around the muddied waters and zooming into puddles. It reminded me of how, when I was a kid, I loved to jump into puddles during rainy days just to create a big splash.

I ended the trail with the most battle scars – rows and rows of scratches and cuts from the times when I couldn’t keep my balance and had to jump off from the bike. The bike skidded across my legs, leaving behind a trail of grease and blood stains. They don’t really hurt so it’s fine but my gams are probably scarred for a while. No miniskirts for a week, people will probably think that I was abused or something.

I didn’t manage to stay on the saddle throughout the entire ride but that’s okay. My puny legs are not used to going uphill but with practice, I could one day conquer that trail. As long as I keep trying and not give up, I could actually be a decent cyclist.

Yup, you heard me right, this is not the end of my biking days. I enjoyed it tremendously and I will probably try it again soon, rain or no rain. I loved everything about it – being close to nature, having a great workout under the open sky and indulging the tomboy in me.

Oh, and the sumptuous post-ride hawker dinner too.

Friends, The organised chaos

Dashing off

I’ve been so busy these days that I think my posting frequency has reached that of Popartgirl’s ie. once every blue moon. But honestly, I cannot fathom how some bloggers have all the time in the world to blog three times a day, complete with a full photo album for each posting. As it is, I have a few folders full of pictures to process and a handful of articles to write, most of them just simmering in the mind right now.

It’s going to be a busy weekend, mixed with work and fun. Tomorrow will be the first time I get onto the saddle of a bike since five years ago (?) and it’s going to be quite exciting navigating the trails of Mandai. Assuming I survive it all with energy to spare, I will write more about it when I get back.

But now, got to run! Am late for researching on an article close to my heart: shopping!

“!(imgcenter)!(My last cycling trip on Ubin)”:

Circa 2002

Everything Else

The Alchemist

When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.
“!(imgcenter)!(Sunset at Krabi)”:

There are days when you think you have the words to say but when you really sit in front of the computer, you find that the words are not exactly bubbling out from your brains. This is one of those days.

It’s not that I am feeling down or low or sad or anything remotely negative. No, nothing like that. The feeling is that of routine, where everyday is the same and nothing pops out to make you feel delighted or alive.

Everyone needs something to hold on to in order to get through life, it is true. Without hope, dream, faith or belief, there would be no anchor to the way you spend your days and you would end up drifting with no end in sight.

…at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.

There are some days when I wish I could be like Santiago, the character from Paulo Coelo’s acclaimed novel, “The Alchemist”. Some have panned it as an unrealistic book that overdoes the simple writing, as a hype that fails to live up to expectations.

I beg to differ. I loved the minimalist style of short sentences that tend to avoid the use of hyperbole and big words. It’s like what we learnt in journalism school – keep it short and simple. The plot may seem entirely out of context in today’s modern world; afterall, what would a young shepherd giving up everything to realise a recurrent dream have to do with this frenetic world that we live in?

It is precisely this anachronism that makes it a fulfilling read. His adventures may not be directly relevant to our technological age but on a deeper level, the themes are the same. Hold on to your dreams, be discerning enough to distinguish between sound advice and sour grumblings, take chances when they land on your lap and always take wisdom away from each life’s lessons that you learn along your personal journey.

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.

One of the greatest things about this book to me is its longevity. Read it 20 years from now and it would still achieve the same resonance for its themes are universal and time-defying.

Just like Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince”, which is one of my all-time favourites, Paulo Coelo’s “The Alchemist” is a lyrical classic that bridges all time, space and language barriers.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Remember that.