Monday, February 19, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!

Yessssssssssssssssss my favourite season is here again!
Chinese New Year!!! Dong dong chianggg! Yx loves it too, she sings and claps very enthusiastically to cny music everytime, and requests to watch lion dance performance on YouTube!





 
Noobish attempt at creating a "dog" impression. Looks more like a mao mao lion dance.

Wishing everyone a healthy year, smile more and work hard, and enjoy the company of your family and friends! :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My first I-See-Tea

Was forgotten for 13 years after I ORD, and I packed my FBO eagerly and booked in excitedly for my first I-See-Tea 5-9 Feb 2018!

Thank goodness for Grab Hitch, I only paid $15 for an early morning comfortable ride. Coincidentally, my I-See-Tea camp is the same as my previous camp during service. As I passed the security check and walked into the camp, memories from 13 years ago flowed back. The foyer where we falled in, the changing room where we slept in, the office where I worked at.

So anyway I was happy to see a few familiar faces, including my batch mates Jarrod and Gary! Must really confess that I have affinity with Jarrod; do you believe that apart from being neighbours in the same estate, we were in the same:

- Kindergarten
- Primary School (also attended tuition together)
- Army vocation
- Uni course
- And now, I-See-Tea unit!!!?

At the In-Pro centre where everyone gathered, immediately one can tell who is lao jiao (old bird) and who is new bird. The latter arrived early, decked in neat uniform and polished boots, and followed instructions and brought the whole FBO along, together with a bag of personal items (in preparation for stay-in). The former did everything opposite, lol. Anyway, I wasn't the only one serving my first I-See-Tea, but still, many returned me :O faces when I told them I ORD 13 years ago.

So the week's programme was live firing at the state-of-the-art MMRC aka indoor firing range (with air-con). My first time handling the SAR21 and was impressed at its ease of use and accuracy rate! The whole Co. received $200 each as reward for marksmanship. We also did IPPT and man, was I pleased to clear my IPPT window with Silver so early in the year! :D

Was a great time mingling with old friends and going for canteen breaks and talking cock... good thing was that I could book out on 4 days and spend some time with my family too.

For remembrance sake, this the only capture I took of my 1st I-See-Tea :


Friday, January 19, 2018

2017 review

2017 passed by in a flash, didn't it! It doesn't seem too long ago that I was penning down my review for 2016 and in a twinkling of an eye, it was December already.... man.

Looking back at my resolutions set for 2017:

Resolutions for 2017:

1) Maintain silver for IPPT 

Result - I am guilty of not training for it. Or rightly, not training sufficiently for it. Knowing I fare worst at push ups, I only focused on training for push ups and nothing else. For previous years I used to train for sit ups, but this year I didn't cos I thought I'll scrap through (which I did); I ran twice (the first 2 months before IPPT, the other 2 days before, and the latter gave me leg muscle aches which didn't recuperate in time). Thus during my 2.4km run my pre-existing muscle aches were so bad I stopped to brisk walk a couple of times and it resulted in a miserable timing. But haha, the advantage of the revamped IPPT system is that the margin between silver and pass with incentive is very broad - I could even run 2 mins slower and still attain pass with incentive. Okay all in all, lessons learnt, I can no longer depend on weekly futsal sessions as stamina training, and I need to train in push ups and sit ups in future. Bah. Old liao :(

2) Travel!

Result - as compared to only once in 2016, we travelled significantly more in 2017! Penang, cruise, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and a few trips across the causeway. More about them in the month by month summary to follow.


3) Challenge myself at work

Result - did a little more in CCAs (Employment Engagement Survey, Futures Advance) but failed to grow as much as I would like to in the technical aspect. Projects were dull and mundane and learning opportunities were limited. 


4) More outdoor activities with family

Result - Went Pasir Ris park, Cafe Melba, Marina Barrage, Sunplaza Park, visits to the neighbourhood playground... Not bad ba? Otherwise it's really sian to head outdoors given that Singapore's weather is mostly >30 deg C, I mean, you can't expect us to lay out a mat at east coast park and have a picnic as and when we want? 


5) Contribute to society - 

Result - Yeap! More about that in 'May' summary.


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Highlights of 2017:

January

- Yx walks independently!



I bumped into my primary school classmate who shared that her daughter started walking only after they brought her to a huge grass patch in Perth. The theory was that in such an environment, they are less afraid of falling. One weekend we brought yx to UE Biz Hub where we allowed yx to roam the NTUC aisles and the outdoors. After that day yx began to walk independently, hurray!


- Penang



Quite a pre-CNY spontaneous trip with a family of 4, we stayed together in a beautiful Airbnb apartment overlooking the straits and Penang Bridge. It was fun yet not the most relaxing. Although we couldn't cover as many places as we wanted to it was good we had one another for company and if we need a reminder we're not suffering the worst as parents we could just look at the other family, haha.


February



A vacation we booked vvvv long ago finally arrived! We were excited from the sharing by my parents of the endless activities, places to explore and the 24/7 restaurants and cafes. Prior to this, wifey has never gone on a cruise before whereas my last and only was on Star Cruise in 2001. Royal Carribean Cruises, my parents said, is on a completely different level as Star Cruise. Indeed, despite having a baby in toll we enjoyed the time to ourselves and in our compact yet comfortable cabin room, and being pampered by the meticulous staff who took care of the finest details. 


April

- Work trip

Was I excited to embark on my first overseas work trip at my present job! And the destination was to the US, lagi excited! We didn't have a packed schedule and I really enjoyed the mini holiday in a familiar city. Of course, I love plane rides and a short transit at Narita made it more enjoyable.

Factory Acceptance Test


- Hong Kong vacation

Our Krisflyer miles was expiring so we redeemed 2 adult air tickets to HK. We covered many famous eateries and my personal highlight was the scenic trek along Dragon's Back Trail. Otherwise, we didn't have much to do in between and we found ourselves in a museum and queueing to get up The Peak (again)... -_-" 




May

My Ukulele AIG was losing steam with no new activities to look forward to. With only the intention to provide some company to elderly folk through music, I invited like-minded colleagues to join us and we received overwhelming response - on the actual day, we had a total of 5 AIGs (uke, balloon, zumba, baking/cooking, photography) comprising about 30 members creating a memorable day for the elderly at KC Happy Lodge! It was very well received and many residents urged us to make it an annual affair.




Little did I expect that my effort in coordinating and promoting this inaugural ground-up CSR initiative would see me receive a SPICE@Work Award (one of a few recipients) for modelling exemplary core values :)


July

Happy like a bird to receive news of my promotion! Numbers wise the pay jump isn't fantastic at all but any increment is welcome la, plus the promotion is a positive affirmation of my contribution at work.

At a biannual WCACEF it was a pleasure to be Liaison Officer to a guest from a very interesting country, so interesting I have to google again to get the name correctly - St. Kitts and Nevis. This was her first time here and I was proud to play part-time tour guide too. I was also LO to a guest from Laos, but he was so familiar with SG and his regional counterparts, most of the time he stuck to his kawan kawan and devised their own plans.

Celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary cum wifey's bday by having a local staycation and toured the area on foot and MRT, like tourists.

Some internationally recognised and preserved building at the back

The popular Man Man jap restaurant was a stone's throw away but when we got there next day around noon to find there was already a queue! Chanced upon a cosy book cafe and spent some time inside. Had lunch at Toa Payoh where a blogger I was following recently opened a stall selling her own recipe of halal prawn mee (which later turned out to be a hit and has appeared on media and everywhere). 

We also spent a staycation with wifey's family at Capella Sentosa Hotel, boy it was the most comfortable and beautiful room ever!






September

Yx turns 2:



October

Short getaway to Khao Yai and Bkk. 4d3n not enough leh. Haha. 




November

My parents went for their holiday so we brought yx for a staycation near Hello Kitty Town.





Okay la on the whole it's quite fun, the shows were good and it's more value for money if your kid likes exploring indoor playgrounds. But the stretch of F&B along Puteri Harbour makes it ideal for an affordable, stress-free staycation.


December

- My birthday 

Failed attempt at recording her wishing me 'happy bday', during our daily morning bonding otw to my parents' home

-------------------------------

Ending this review with a list of actionables and "resolutions" for 2018:

- Go for a family holiday
- Attain Silver for IPPT
- Create and update a master copy of all my insurance and investment plans
- Extract my remaining 2 wisdom tooth
- Bless Yx with a sibling, god willing.

Wish you all good health and a smooth sailing year. See you all next year!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2 weeks into school

Some progress updates on how Yx has been coping with school.


For the first week, parents and 1 caregiver were allowed to accompany the kids during class. After that, the kids were left on their own.

On the first "independent" day 8th Jan, we had expected Yx to wail a thunderstorm, so we asked nai nai to bring her to school (knowing that yx is less clingy to nai nai than to us). To our most unexpected surprise, she didn't drop a tear!!! She was in fact excited to start class and happily relating what she learnt in class at the end of the day! This was true on the second and third days, too. Yay this girl really enjoys school! My mom also feedback that only 1 or 2 other kids were sobbing, most have adapted quite well.

Alas, since Friday 12/1, Yx suddenly developed separation anxiety and would start crying while walking to the centre. She would cry, "yao4 hui2 jia1 (Want to go home)!" but Teacher said Yx would be okay once lessons started inside the play room.

I guess separation anxiety is normal... good thing is that Yx seems to enjoy the music and songs and I like that there is art & craft almost everyday (such as finger painting, fruit painting, pasting) which Yx rarely experiences at home. Kids below 3 are still doing parallel play i.e. yet to learn to socialize and play in groups, so I'm not too concerned at the moment, but it's good she is exposed to a class setup and mixing with other kids.

Yesterday, Yx was happily singing and clapping along to a song none of us have come across before:

Back: Ikea kitchen I finally laid my hands on, 2nd hand from Carousell $70

I made out the lyrics that sounded sth like "I need to wash my hands together", in the video my mom captured Yx was singing and walking in circles for at least 2 minutes! When I asked if she learnt that from school she nodded happily :) On top of this, she has also been humming a couple of songs to herself (Apple a day keeps the doctor away; Wind wind sugar baby). Okay so all in all, I think this playgroup has been beneficial for her.

I asked for some feedback from Teacher L, her replies below:


I would prefer Yx mixing with more English-literate kids, but that would mean disrupting her natural waking up time of 9am++...      >.<



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Yx reports for school!

We psych-ed up yx for school as early as a few months ago, and today was the day! She woke up feeling excited that she was going to school!



It was only orientation today. We were pleasantly impressed that yx didn't feel uncomfortable nor appear uneasy at all, as compared to a few other kids who were wailing or clinging tightly to their parents. One even wailed throughout the 30 min orientation. Yx sat still throughout listening intently to Teacher L and browsed the bag and books included in the welcome pack. Even before we introduced ourselves, Teacher L recognised and called her name properly. On top of her warm outlook and a pleasant temperament, she has taught here since 2000 so we trust that she and her assistant will take good care of the kids. 

Parents are allowed to accompany their kids throughout the 2-hour class for as long as Teacher L feels the kids are ready. Over the next few days we'll see how yx copes to the new faces and change in her routine (#fingerscrossed)!

-------------------------------------------

Revelation:

National demographics (2017):
Chinese - 76%
Malay - 15%
Indians - 7.4%

HDB child-care:
Chinese - 13%
Malay - 6%
Indians - 80%

I don't mean any offence to any race and the latter stats are based purely on my interpretation of the make-up of yx's class. My parents mentioned this trend was true during my time, too. Which naturally leads to a question - where are all the Chinese kids??



Sunday, December 31, 2017

A parent's love

There are some emotions one isn't even aware of, until one has become a parent. The emotions of overwhelming happiness when baby smiles at you; amazement when baby's gaze fixates on you; dejectedness when baby rejects you; disappointment and anger when kid defies or talks back at you; and perhaps the strongest emotion is that of love, when reunited with child/children at the end of the day, or when baby comes crying into your arms after a fall.

Since becoming a parent myself, I realised - I have become more aware and conscious of my own emotions. It's like my emotions have become magnified and whenever I'm with my family, especially with my daughter, every negative emotion is swept away. Joy, contentment, fulfillment and love fill my heart, and family has become ever more important in life than anything else. Since becoming a parent myself, I learnt that a parent's love for his/her child is unrivalled and beyond compare.

Which is why, this article is truly heart-wrenching and depressing for any parent to read:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/defying-odds-brain-cancer-dancer-gbm-glioblastoma-9821022

Every parent has their own way of parenting. No parenting style is the same, but the magnitude of their love for their child is. Looking back at my growing up years, I am reminded my parents were stern, fierce, very strict and unreasonable at times. But now, I feel regretful I reciprocated their love with rude stares, defiant talking back and passive rebellion, for when I was at that age, I didn't have the emotional capacity to understand their rationale behind what they did or what they said.

But now I do.



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Xiuwen's wedding and X'mas family gathering 2017

We were astounded when we heard that Xiuwen's wedding was gonna be held on X'mas eve, so were we elated that everyone were available to attend!

Since it coincided with the long weekend we booked 2 nights at Avantgarde Hotel (excellent location, basic, nothing to shout about but clean and comfortable) near Sutera Mall. Had such a fabulous time mingling with Grandma, relatives and cousins and nieces and nephew, it was reminiscent of our trademark boisterous CNY gatherings which are hard to come by in recent years, now that some have started their own families and/or relocated. Thankful for technology, we are able to 'face-time' them and their real time presence was felt! :)

I'll let the photos do the talking!




Tradition since we were toddlers - Do-Re-Mi according to age



























And when you're with the Ngs, you'll be sure to have your stomach always filled with

GOOD FOOD!

Breakfast for champs - been such a long time since I enjoyed a local breakfast like this...

Hand-peeled mee hoon kway

Hakka yong tau foo bursting with meat - only in Malaysia. Kopi was very good too!
Local kueh and pastries, sadly flavours we can't find in Sg...

Meng Meng Roasted Delights
 Their roast duck is 80% like Dian Xiao Er's; roast pork is decent but my vote goes to their melt-in-your-mouth fattylicious honey charred char siew!!! BEST CHAR SIEW EVER! We ate it on all 3 days!

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There was this moment, merely a few seconds at uncle's house, amidst all the boisterous chatting and laughing, when I paused and just took in all the sights and sounds.... and I concluded that this joyful extended family gathering was more fun because my paternal grandparents had 6 children, who went on to establish big families of their own, hence the many cousins that my siblings and I have. Twenty years later, with smaller families (lesser children) and larger distances apart, and varying priorities setting in, I wonder if our offsprings will ever have the blessed opportunity to enjoy being a part of a big family. Nevertheless, I'm really grateful and contented that at the moment we (and wyx) have a complete and happy nuclear family to come home to. :)


Happy Lunar New Year!

Yessssssssssssssssss my favourite season is here again! Chinese New Year!!! Dong dong chianggg! Yx loves it too, she sings and claps very ...