This will make you chuckle, I'm sure of it.
Friday, July 31, 2009
I heart this Lego bear which is made by a Lego professional (the only one in Singapore at that.) It doubles up as a sculpture -cum- photoframe too. So creative, interesting and unusual. I feel so tempted to rush out and buy some Lego bricks to create my own.
And the Lego light! I wanna buy it too! wow wow wow wow.
Find more of the uber cool Lego stuff at blackbulbcreations.blogspot.com
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Some of them are born with Down's Syndrome, others had accidents in birth where the umbilical cord had cut off the oxygen to their brains whilst in labour. Many of them look sub-normal, with the small head and often large, gaitly look. The way they walk is also gangly as some had cerebral palsy. Those that did look normal were quite good looking, but you can see in their gaze that there's not much activity going on in the brain. It's quite sad, really. This school, the one and only school (the rest are institutionalised I believe) is not funded by MOE and so even the teacher's lounge has the bare essentials, only.
Me and Mr A. were discussing the scenario let's say what if one of our kids, during pre-birth, were diagnosed to have Down's syndrome. What would our decisions be. I think for me, I will not choose to give birth to this baby. Sure, christian laws and all stating that we should. But let's get realistic here. Maybe, if I were living in a countryside or village setting, I think the child would be able to survive better. Here in Singapore, we can't afford a full-time care... we can't afford to put him in an institution and that would be very sad too. Best case scenario for him is that he finds a job in McDs or some hard-labor kind of work. People always say that Down's Syndrome kids look happy, are happy and we should give them a chance to live. But what kind of life can they have in Singapore? They have to study for at least 16 years like the rest of us. And after that, they only get a certificate. I spoke to the teacher who said that they all know there's something wrong with them. In fact, when they travel home, they want to change out of their uniform lest people label or mock them. And many of them asked the teacher, 'Teacher, why am I so stupid? I keep learning and trying but I can't seem to remember?' These words haunt me. Do you think they are happy to be born?
Anyways, I hope that I will never have to make such a decision, it's always heartbreaking either way. Serving in the church small kids' (4-6 years) service, I've met some who are either mildly autistic or extreme hyperactive. Even taking care of them for 1.5 hours exhausts me. I can't imagine the frustrated parents. And are they cute? No! They are totally irritating. Yes, shower the kids with love and care I say, but the extreme hyperactive may need some medication to calm him down, thus enabling him to learn more and behave 'normally', at least to what Society dictates as normal. We normal ones have to struggle with other things such as the ranking of our schools, whether we can make it into Express stream, and then make it into our preferred course, and then make it into our preferred line of work. Seems like we have to struggle with more things too... ...but still, we take pride in our little accomplishments because we worked heart and soul for them. I used to mind that people knew I had a degree. Now I don't hesitate telling everyone that my degree is first-class, because I worked my butt off for it, hahaha! I didn't sleep for that year of study by the way. (Thank you RedBull.)
Early this week I read this article about happiness in The Straits Times. It kept me thinking up till today about happiness, and it will impact me for quite a long time to come.
Powerful words does change perspectives.
When diamonds aren't a man's best friend
Cheong Suk-Wai, Straits Times 28 Jul 09;
NOBEL laureate Bertrand Russell once said that a person was happiest if he flowed with 'the stream of life', instead of being as hard and separate from it as a billiard ball.
Shanghai-born psychologist Christopher Hsee has refined that idea further by distinguishing between stream-of-life happenings that compare social standings and so drive unhappy wedges among people, and events that don't.
His work has been highlighted in scholarly journals and mainstream media. In 2002, Nobel laureate in economics Daniel Kahneman cited Prof Hsee's work at some length in his lecture.
Prof Hsee holds the Theodore O Yntema chair at the Booth Business School of the University of Chicago. He earned a PhD in psychology at Yale University in 1993.
The son of an engineer and a doctor, he is also legally blind from a congenital eye defect that can be little corrected.
It is ironic that the married father of two is now credited as being among the first to introduce the science of happiness to China, as none of its colleges would admit him as an undergraduate because of his blindness. His family eventually migrated to Hawaii and he went to college there.
In town recently to teach at the Booth campus along Penang Road, Prof Hsee told me why joy is elusive:
# Are the materialistic less happy?
It's very difficult to show a causal relationship between materialism and happiness. We don't know whether people who believe in materialism are less happy or that people who are less happy tend to believe in materialism.
To do so, you would need to have some people believe in materialism and have some others not believe in it, and then test their happiness. But this is difficult to do. It is also very difficult for us to understand which causes which.
# So it's a chicken and egg thing.
That's right. It is possible that happy people tend to make more money because they're more optimistic, more motivated and, eventually, they are more liked and can get higher paying positions. In any case, increasing wealth can increase one's happiness but it very much depends on what you want.
# When is wealth no longer contentment but contention instead?
Many have debated about whether happiness is relative or absolute. What I have found is that it depends on whether it is what I call a Type A or Type B event.
A Type A event is that which people have an absolute standard as to what's good and bad. For example, loneliness makes us unhappy.
Type B events are based on social comparisons, like how big your diamond is. The distinction is important because if we spend a lot of resources to improve Type B goods, it will largely be a zero sum game.
# Why is that?
If everyone wears large diamonds, our average happiness will be the same as when everyone wears small diamonds. On the other hand, working to improve Type A goods can absolutely improve people's happiness. In hindsight, this may seem quite obvious, but it can help governments and companies invest their resources better.
# So why does human nature have us believe that things can make us happy?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is that people have to survive before they can pursue happiness. Even the US Declaration of Independence talks about three inalienable rights - and life goes before the pursuit of happiness.
The dilemma today is that people who are no longer concerned about basic survival needs still pursue material goods. That's because of inertia. Money used to be so scarce that, even with money now, people still feel they have to pursue it.
# Why is finding joy in things bad?
The problem is that it has a cost, because the fact that you have a bigger diamond makes others who don't less happy. So the pursuit of Type B (happiness) is worse than a zero sum game because to afford a bigger diamond than what others have, you will have to work harder and longer to make more money. And the mining companies will have to find more diamonds, at great cost to the environment.
# Is joy borne of struggle greater than joy borne of a silver spoon existence?
I know many wealthy people in China who are in their 50s and are happy now because they were very poor as kids. They're rich through their own efforts and have also benefited from reforms over the last few decades. Yet I'm not sure their kids, who get to stay in five-star hotels, are as happy as their parents. They won't have as much upward improvement as their parents had.
# How much does living in an increasingly uncertain world hobble our happiness?
I'm not sure we face more uncertainty than our ancestors who had the uncertainty of survival. Uncertainty is not always bad. One of the obstacles to happiness is, in fact, certainty. Suppose someone could live in heaven where there's all peace and certainty. He may be very happy at the beginning, but in the long run, people who adapt too much get bored.
# So being less able to adapt is good?
The point is that to increase or maintain happiness we should pursue events which are resistant to adaptation. For example, if you have a very expensive granite countertop in your kitchen, you will adapt to the joy you get from it after a while.
But if you have a puppy which is dynamic and variable, you cannot adapt to it easily and so it can give you pleasure for a longer time. Most social events are less prone to adaptation, so having pets or enjoying the arts gives us greater joy in the long run.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Black photoframes for my postcards. I'm so glad I don't have to go to balding centres, slimming centres, rebond my hair or give money to both my parents.
But we have some ways to make our money stretch.
1. Eating at Mr A's Mom's diner.(FOC)
For dinner, I love the fact that I can eat white, fragrant rice at The Diner. And 'hebi hiam', and soups. A typical Cantonese dinner. Nice soups. I come from a postmodern family who is into organic whole foods. Never seen white rice for years, only brown, basmati, mixed-or short grain rice. Currently eating pita bread for breakfast and dinner and the occasional takeaways zi char. So I relish the traditional, sit at dining table and soup with the meal concept.
Mr A. said that's also a good way of spending time with her but I can't see how, she doesn't eat with us, only after.
Still, it saves us money. Which brings me on to point #2.
2. Eating on a budget.($30)
Limiting unnecessary restaurant dining experiences to celebratory excursions.
For two, we came up with a tight budget of $30 per meal dining out.
It's not that hard-pressed to find food here actually. Faves include the recent KimGary - a lamb chop meal which comes with drink, soup, bread, and the delectable french toast is less than $25. Portions big enough for two. We also like sukiyaki (introdued Mr A. to it and he loves it soooo much, unusual for a guy) which we can share at Ichiban's, paired with a few sides, and Chompchomp's selections. I somehow always like the cheery atmosphere of Chompchomp, no matter what, eating there will make my mood uplifted. Perhaps a fond childhood memory of the place, and the best bbq chicken wings ever paired with all the nice carrotcake, satay beehoon, oyster omelette.... slurps.
3. NOT going to shopping malls on weekends. (FOC)
I have given Vivocity and Raffles City too much of my money. Even if it's a worthy buy like books, inevitably I will need a Coffeebucks or a manicure or a new hairband, at these evil places. And end up spending $50? Bleah!
Places to go on weekends: Old Town Big Splash. Yums. ECP, Pasir Ris Park, Furniture shops - not counted as shopping because not really buying anything. Quite happy I live near the east, nothing much to do in the west muahaha!
4. No movie-watching on weekends. (Save $2.50+$2.50=$5!)
Adds up to great savings! Think about that! IF one month can save $10, one year is $120... just enough for a IKEA kitchen cupboard.
5. No buying any more tee-shirts which are black. ($30?)
Or tee-shirts for that matter. I have enough black, blue, gray ones (I need dark colors in my line of work)
6. Daytrip to JB on weekends (50% off)
Don't know how it's going to help us save money - maybe just on petrol. We are going to try this out. Means I have to break my 'no shopping centres on weekends' rule.
7. Planning ahead. (Priceless, I'm guessing savings of a few hundred per month)
From now on I'm going to write on a post-it pad about pre-empted purchases and 'need to spend on' things like facials and supplies of whatever product that is running out. Now that I also apply tinted moisturizer on my neck and decolletage area to minimize signs of aging, it can only last a month compared to 3 months', previously. My facewash also runs out real fast. One can last 1.5 months? Hmm.
Working it out before the paycheck is in the bank does help tremendously. I've been good so far... ... (I didn't forget to include my Thomas Sabo charms expenditure every month.)
Yea, that's all I can think of for now, Luckily, I can claim my taxi expenses which work out to around $200 - $400 on average per month, so I actually spend very little on transport a month, like about $60?
I miss Mr A. After a nice weekend out, the days apart seem too long. It's sick living in a country where we work so long hours (him, not me) - and having so many other activities - church commitments on clashing weekdays - that even though we both live a street apart (according to the postal code that is), meeting up on weekdays prove difficult.
Going home to nurse a nasty ulcer on the tongue, do my mat exercises and think about him.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I think one thing good about the state of the economy is that it has helped me to try to save, psychologically.
Thinking of ways and means to save on your usual purchases is not easy; seeing this retail environ we live in, and … sometimes it’s more worth it to buy the more expensive stuff. All nods in agreement. Regretting after buying a cheap and no-good piece of clothing/makeup/whatever, it’s not worth the frustration. But I try to note down things, like GainCity has a discount on digital cameras, saving some dough… and other places some things can buy it cheaper, too.
I buy most of my books second-hand, a wise decision because I can read 2 books in a week. I still like going to The Bookshops in Raffles City, Wheelock; and Vivocity, but now, I plan for my book purchases, and buy them at Bras Basah. Kind Indian man already recognizes me, always having the same question. ‘Any Nicholas Sparks’ books?’ Once I like one author I have to read most of his books. So I’ve read most of Jostein Gaarder’s, Agatha Christie’s, Nicholas Sparks’. Got a Paulo Coelho book and it was my first, a pleasant read.
Stumbled upon this shop, ‘Cat Socrates’, near the 2nd hand bookstore, it sells everything I like. Tin Robots. Notebooks of brown paper and vintage prints. Lomo prints in small, small pieces – I bought to paste on my Office wall.
We bought a notebook (his idea!) and wanted to write down all our little memories. Listed down places we wanted to go – so many nice places to go, and eat at, and just relax at… the night-places we can go to, it’s hard-pressed to find a decent location at night to just cosy up and talk.
There are the too-dark and isolated places like parks which does not bode well for having a quality conversation, plus I have a dread fear of mossies since I had dengue before, (Really. We always bring tealight candles when we go to the beach at night. People think it’s for the romance feel but actually to chase away mossies, and ants too we discovered, and it works 100%.)
So on a dating session last Saturday night, we found ourselves at T3, Changi Airport. On the signboard at the lift area the shops at B1, B2, B3 etc were listed. Mr A. thought that the ‘24H’ notation at the back of the restaurant’s name meant the area it was located, and puzzledly said, ‘Eh, where’s area 24H’? I was hysterical.
The book Pastor recommended ‘5 love languages’ is really beneficial to us in this stage of our relationship. I had quite a hard time determining which is mine, I guess I feel loved so much that I don’t really know what is lacking or what I would like more? But it turns out that an obvious one for me would be quality time. (Him, even without reading he insists it is ‘touch’.) It’s really fun to find out the different dialects we will have in our love language. As a ‘thinker’, I enjoy a quality conversation, talking about things that are conjecturally interesting, talking analytically about people and people’s relationships and what we would do in that situation.
He likes simple massages… and I happen to be able to give massages really well! I think for couples who don’t speak each other’s love languages fluently, it may pose some difficulties. I actually know of guys who don’t like to be touched… but I’m sure every couples likes to spend time together, right… We keep up a daily conversation through email, so it’s nice to have a message pop up, sometimes about funny stuff, about how lunch was, about how was our work like, the interesting places I filmed, the things he did, like singing ‘beat it’ last Friday to the ire of his colleagues.
And so each day passes, happily.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Some observations about men.
Men. We love them, hate them, try to understand them, try to make them understand us.
The men in my life have always had an enduring fascination with women. ‘What do you girls talk about?’ And why do we like to ‘go shopping’ so much? I guess these are some of the questions on their mind. And perhaps being the only answer key to the multitude of questions left unsolved and unanswered, they probed, albeit on the surface, about a women’s mystery.
Women talk about the same things as men. We talk about men, the same way men, invariably talk about women, though in a different context.
We talk about our fears, and desires, and being woman – and born with what you men call, ‘a woman’s intuition’, we sense more than what is being said. Our girlfriends may talk about how much she fancies a chap we all know, but somehow, perhaps in a glimpse, a moment when she looks away momentarily, with a bewildered and disheartening look; we manage to catch the look that means, yes, I do like him immensely, but I also know that we are not meant to be. And we do. Not. Ask. But offer the friendship, and the listening ear when the time comes when she must move on.
And in all my conversations with the men in my life, I’m truly bewildered at how men fear women. We are the weaker sex, easily overpowered by men, with a far wider range of things to worry about, then them. We have health and hormonal issues, women get headaches twice the frequency (and intensity, I believe!)more so then the male gender, we have to worry about our skin, our hair, our body, more so than men, because whether we like it or not, we are more often, judged by our appearances than what is inside. So being already judged for being superficial, we also judge those around us who seem less put-together. And we are hormonally conditioned to like men who seem to be able to have the right criteria (Criteria depends from woman to woman) to be able to take care of us.
Men are clueless when it comes to the ways of women. So they are scared when they make women cry, or make them angry. They don’t know what to do. Keep asking’ Are you alright’ doesn’t help one single bit. Nor does avoiding the situation entirely. But men do not know the variables when a women cries. It could be that she is regretting being with him, and thinking of and not being able to forget her first love. And having these wretched feelings, she cries, or is angry, with herself and the world. But you won’t know that, because these are things that will remain unspoken of. It could be a stressful and hormonal period of time in her life/that month, and even speaking of it, explaining it to him, he wouldn’t be able to understand, and perhaps it would be better if he remained clueless. It could be that simply, women cry easily. Because after that, we feel much better than keeping it all in, like men.
Some try to impress by becoming a Mr Know-it- all, offering up pieces of advice or showcasing their adept skills at something. Like blabbering on about the latest news or the newest movie/book/hot scandal. However, this often misfires as women are not as impressed as they think women would be.
Some act nonchalant, not seeming to care about the state of their polo tees or their belly.
Perhaps being more optimistic, they think that, surely, after some time, some beauty would be able to acknowledge their vast charms, and want to swim in the deep sea of their eyes. But as the years go on, they start to have a sinking feeling that the women only see them as ‘woodblocks’, ‘activity partners’, and not desirable in the way they see a man they would like to have by their side. And their deepest fear sees the daylight.
Why do some men play with women’s hearts? They want to make a woman like them. Maybe this is a subconscious thing – perhaps since their childhood days they have never felt love from any woman. And so they ‘woo’ the women in their lives. They appear nice. Sensitive. Very sweet. And always paying – perhaps a need for the women to have a monetary obligation to them, but the women tell themselves he is being a true gentleman. Each date or friendly meeting experience is tinged with the ‘romance feel’. Invariably, the strongest of women will develop feelings. But these men are insecure, worrisome, think too much about their own feelings and usually says things to make them seem nice that women will continue liking them, and not say it because it comes sincerely from the heart.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
We spent about half an hour before leaving for dinner, just having fun, taking photos with 2 of the heart foil balloons. I realised that to get really nice photos, you have to take quite a few shots. So we went crazy with photobooth - and I used picasa to piece all together in a collage, both softwares are free... whilst his Mom looked on, amusedly. I really like the collage above... and was amazed Mr A. had so many expressions!!! Below is all our shots - we took 40 in all and there are some really funky ones. Hee... and we're getting some casual photos done by bryan&jean... they take photos which we like very much.