The organised chaos

Don’t know why

To be a political bait, how does that feel?
Moments before the gunshot was fired, how did she feel?
Throughout the terrible ordeal, did she manage to come to terms with her mortality?
She was only meant to be in Mumbai for a day, did she realise the tragedy of it all?

I was out having dinner with my oldest girlfriends, when Min received the text message to say that the poor girl had been killed. Apparently, she was Min’s senior in law school, and our senior in VJC. I never knew her – heck, I can’t even remember my own classmates – but it just felt surreal because our paths might have crossed 10 years ago; only we never knew it.

Suddenly, the mood changed. The three of us turned somber and we could only sit and stare at each other, wondering why and what and how. Denise and I do go on business trips, and we realised that it could have been us. What’s more, she had gotten married last year, something which resonated with the two recently-marrieds.

“Imagine being the husband going to Mumbai to identify the body,” I said.
“No, imagine the husband going to Mumbai, thinking he was going to get her back safe and sound but only receiving her corpse,” said the husband.

I just don’t understand how lives could be lost so callously, quickly and cruelly.
When did the world start to rot?
Why did the extremists become what they are today?
Isn’t religion supposed to teach us to love thy neighbour and value life?

Wherever you are now, Lo Hwei Yen, I hope you are in a better place. Rest in peace.

Little Miss Shopaholic

Blind shopping

I’ve never gone on a blind date before but from what I have heard, it’s a hit-or-miss affair that could kill off some of your brain cells.

“Throughout the dinner, I could practically hear the crickets chirping,” said J, rolling his eyes dramatically. No prizes for guessing that it was a miss then.

But blind shopping – that I have certainly done. What is it, you ask. It’s when someone buys something on your behalf, but you have never seen the item or felt it in your hands or even know what options there are. Typically for me, it occurs during situations when the discounts are ridiculously huge but I cannot be there at the scene. It’s frustrating to miss out on bargains like these. Unless, of course, you buy by proxy. Voila, blind shopping.

The first time it happened was when Mr Thick had a handful of Topshop vouchers that expired on the same day he received them. I was on night shift at Loiters then and gutted to know that I couldn’t buy anything. He very sweetly rang me up at work and said that the undies I had wanted were gone, would I like a top instead? Hell, yeah! Said blouse was present at the proposal so it must have been a good buy.

Today, I am the proud owner of three brand new pairs of heels without even setting my sights on them. Thanks to Trevor and the fantastic Charles & Keith plus Pedro warehouse sale, I now have two new pairs of ballet pumps and a pair of ankle boots, all for the princely sum of $46! All this could not have been done without his diligence in searching for items in my size, and the magnificent mobile phone; numerous calls were exchanged in the pursuit of bargain buys.

Introducing, my new boots:

Charles & Keith Boots
Charles & Keith Boots

If you are hankering for new, cheap feet for everyday wear and tear like I am, the warehouse sale is on tlll Sunday.

Venue: 21, Tai Seng Street, Charles & Keith Building
Date: November 28 to 30
Time: 10am – 8pm
Contact: 6488 2688

Travel, Wedding March

Lombok Lull: the place

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Don’t you just love alliteration? Whee.
WARNING: Pictures galore.

Anyway, now that I have finished the wedding recap proper, it’s time to move on to the minimoon! It may have been just a short trip to our neighbouring island but we had a great time as newlyweds. If you are thinking of going to Lombok, Indonesia, for excitement, it’s best that you head straight to places with a pulsating rhythm, like Phuket or Bali, instead. No, Lombok is the exact opposite end of the spectrum – you go there to do nothing. People describe it as Bali before the commercialisation, I say it’s a quiet sanctuary perfect for hectic cosmopolitans like us.

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Nothing.
Doing nothing (such an oxymoron) on a holiday may sound alien to us because most of the time, we are trying desperately to fit in as many activities as possible. But it’s so easy to give in to the hypnotizing lull of Lombok such that you end up sitting by the beach and marvel at how sparkling blue it is. Everyday.

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We stayed in Qunci Pool Villas, the newer development to the popular boutique hotel, Qunci Villas. Since it was our minimoon, we decided to give ourselves a treat and get a one-bedroom villa with a private pool. Technically, all the “villas” are rooms too because they have the same floor plan, area and patio. The only difference is, the villas are individual buildings while the rooms are clustered together in two storeys. Rooms on the first floor also have a unique outdoor shower, which was both weird and wonderful. Before booking the room, we emailed the hotel staff for special rates and packages and they were fabulously prompt and polite. Highly recommended.

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When we got there via Silkair, we were seriously pooped from the wedding the night before. Had a great meal at the hotel’s Quali restaurant and went back to the villa to rest. Oh, one thing to note: there isn’t a television set in the room and while you could request for one (and a DVD player), the staff will inform you politely that there are no channels available. Poor Mr Thick looked at me with such abject horror, I almost laughed.

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You see, before we got there, he had been a little concerned about the lack of connectivity (the hotel’s computer was hooked to a 56K modem on our first night). “No wifi? No TV?” he asked incredulously as he packed his BundBook into his bag. But it was all good. We had our laptops so he watched all the television shows he had procured in the comforts of the deck chairs on our patio. Plus, Graec had graciously (hee) loaned me her set of hilarious and ingenious Thursday Next books so I was pretty preoccupied. And when you have nothing to do, you end up sleeping a lot. We were snoozing by 11pm almost every night and even took naps during the day. All the sleep debt that we had racked up were duly paid back during the trip. Yeah!

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Because the hotel had cleverly placed their happy hours from 4pm to 7pm, it gave us the excuse to sit by the pool to sip cheap cocktails and watch the sun set. And it was brilliant! Front row seats to the most spectacular show from Mother Nature. We would lie back in the chairs and watch as the sun sank slowly down into the sea, in silence and with a glass of margarita in our hands.

We really, really loved Qunci Villas during our short weeklong stay. The food was awesome (to be written about in detail in a later post), the people were friendly and polite and the peace was something we needed to slow the pace down and let ourselves breathe. The lack of activities meant that it isn’t a family-friendly place, which suited us just fine because the last thing we needed was screaming kids. Even Mr Thick, who had been skeptical at going to such a quiet place, was won over.

It is the perfect place for two people to start on their married lives together. We were cosily in love, always held hands and laughed a lot. And when you take away distracting things like the Xbox, Internet and mobile phone, you feel so much at peace. We spent lots of time with each other, be it chatting about everything or in silence, and it was just perfect.

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More photos in Mr Thick’s and my flickr sets

Everything Else, Wedding March

Thicknthin: Surprise, surprise

It’s been a long while since I wrote about the wedding. Hey, I’ve been busy trying to put out the damned magazine and I have insomnia! So back to the wedding.

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After we said “I do” to each other, we came out of the room to be greeted by rain. My husband pulled me aside and revealed the bad news: we were going to have to move our wedding indoors. The ground was muddy, all the linen was soaked and our lovely, lovely decorations were ruined. I was gutted but there was nothing we could have done. The hotel staff was already busy setting up in the ballroom.

This was where it all went a bit wrong. There was a bit of trouble regarding the table seating and more than a few disgruntled looks were spotted (sigh). The situation was further worsened by rude guests who complained about their seats (the nerve!). As if we weren’t stressed out enough.

At one point, I heard Peter, our emcee, announce that there was going to be a soundcheck for an event the next day and I positively freaked out. What the hell was going on? I asked. The husband moved me to one corner and made me stay there while the rest bustled around, making sure I was sheltered from the problems. I felt really loved but honestly? It was utterly, utterly boring to sit there and do nothing!

Finally, we managed to usher the guests to their seats and the gang was outside with us, waiting for our entrances. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment when we were engulfed in the group hug – it was lovely, lovely. I am glad that I “forced” them into doing the march-in with us; I loved that they were recognised for their hard work and Skunk’s rock on pose was just priceless.

When I got into the ballroom and saw the seats on the stage, I was a bit curious. But it didn’t occur to me to ask the husband. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was all the anxiety, my curiosity was just not working that night. Good for him, because I am usually curious as hell.

And then, there were men sitting down with guitars and mikes in front of them on stage. He had engaged a band without my knowledge! The first song that The Goodfellas (they play at Timbre) launched into was my “It” song of the moment: Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. Oh, it was brilliant! The band made the stuffy ballroom environment so much livelier, although I did wish that it hadn’t rained and we were dancing under the stars and lanterns instead of some stupid lights.

But that wasn’t all. Why is the husband going on stage? He said something about singing a song that was special to us, and then the guitar strains of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” started and the was warbling into the mike! It’s going to sound mushy but when he fixed his gaze upon me as he sung, it felt strangely spine-tingling and surreal. And seriously, the dude even had his own fan club! I couldn’t believe it but he had really caught me by surprise. I mean, I had been joking about him singing to me at the wedding for months but it never occurred to me that he would really do it. My husband, the romantic man, who would have known?

And so the rest of the evening passed by in a whirl. We moved around the tables and chatted with our friends. We got on stage to do the yumseng and boy, those people were really letting it rip. We did funny, silly things while uncorking the champagne and slicing up that silly cupboard cake. We laughed and cried a little (oh well, I did) when the video he had made of us played (it was my first time watching it too).

Next came surprise number three. I had allocated some time for the gang to do a toast and when they trundled onto the stage, I was expecting a speech about our embarrassing moments and perhaps a little photo montage. What appeared on the screen astounded us. It was a video of how me and the husband met, supposedly. It was 99% rubbish (apparently nobody remembered how we met exactly) but 101% hilarious. I laughed and I cried and then suddenly, the images of our overseas friends appeared on the screen! It was mad and so funny, that I even thought it funny to see Skunk play me in a pink hairband. For the record, I do not have a pink hairband. And I am not fierce. And I do not shout at people.

At the end of the night, we danced in the ballroom as the band played on and more. He did a pole dance around me, I tossed the bouquet to a bunch of excited men and GQ was the lucky recipient of the gorgeous lilies (and Nyrtap’s loving embrace). And then they came up into the bridal suite and we drank ourselves silly with the remaining red wine. Ah, drunken bliss.

It was after all these that I came to the sensible realisation: the perfect wedding isn’t about the beautiful lights, pretty favours or gorgeous decorations. It’s about being married to the love of your life, and it’s about sharing that joy with people who genuinely want to be a part of that celebration. I could do without the tables of distant relatives, they were not important to me. And while I felt a tinge of sadness that the wedding we had been planning for so long did not materialise, what really mattered was that we had finally tied the knot and it was the happiest day of our lives.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Part I: The morning
Part II: Coffee, tea or me?
Part III: Sunny skies
Part IV: The “passing” rain
Part V: We finally do

All photos by Eadwine Lay of Plush Photography.
More photos here and here.

Little Miss Shopaholic

H&M Comme de Garcons

O my heart, be still.
Since we don’t have H&M in Singapore yet, we can only feast on the Comme de Garcons beauteous sights bestowed upon us by the great World Wide Web.

I love, love, love!

I love this shot! It’s so ethereal and gothic and poetic, all at the same time. The dress retails for US$349, pricey for H&M but bargain bin for CdG. Gosh, don’t you just love the ruffles?

Polka dots rule my world. This is actually a mix of a long-sleeved tee (US$24.90), cardigan (US$69.90) and scarf (US$59.90). It’s so ingenious, mixing the dots up. Yummy. Again, love the art direction.

The girly ruffles contrast so brilliantly with the military shape of the jacket (US$129). And the asymmetrical details makes it a little different.

I’m into bags and shoes recently (don’t ask me how much I have spent) and it’s not surprising that I was so drawn by this utilitarian, boxy thing (US$69.90). Going dotty over dots!

Maybe it’s a good thing that the collection is not available in Singapore. I have a house to furnish and it’s not good populating it with my bags and shoes and clothes when we don’t even have a bed!

(Photos source)

Health Goddess

I’m just…tired

Someone once said to me that insomnia is something that he wouldn’t wish upon even his worst enemy. And I finally get it now.

It started innocuously enough: waking up in the middle of the night, a few nights a week. And suddenly, months later, it’s become a nightly occurrence. I haven’t had a single night of uninterrupted sleep since my wedding and it’s really scary.

I saw my GP and we both agree that it’s due to worries and tension about work. At least it’s not depression, he quipped. Thankfully, I haven’t lost interest in most of my favourite things so yay. He gave me some medication to aid my sleep but they don’t work because I end up jerking awake at 3am still. This morning, my eyes flew open at 6am and I couldn’t fall back asleep despite my fatigue.

I’m so tired. And I am so tired of being tired.

The organised chaos

The change begins today

Barack Obama.

I believe in the good that you will do for this once great nation, and for the rest of the world too. I believe that your rise is a signal that change is firmly in our hands, that we can fight for it if we believe in it strongly enough. I believe that today marks the day many dreams, young and old alike, are born.

Most importantly, I believe in you, Barack Obama.

…………..

When your direct supervisor changes your scope of work without informing you personally and ahead of time (she announced it via an email sent out to the team), what does it mean?

When she switches your area of work to suit the strengths of the newcomer to the team, what does it mean?

When she tells your co-writer, “Your first story was good. What happened subsequently? You have lost your flair”, what kind of boss is she?

I was feeling both inspired and immensely jealous upon visiting a quaint little pub along Dunlop Street yesterday. The mood, decor, concept, food, drinks and music were the things that I would have done if I had the financial means to start a pub or cafe. And when I met the owner, a 20-year-old communications studies student at NTU, I was impressed. She not only drew up all the illustrations and design, she is also running the place while studying.

How many dreams have I shelved because I lacked the confidence to say “I can do it”? How many ideas have I snuffed because I didn’t think it could support me and my retiree mother?

Maybe it’s time for me to step forward and do something, rather than dream about it.

It begins today. Change.