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Monday, March 23, 2015

Rest In Peace, Mr Lee Kuan Yew

I woke up to the news of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's passing early this morning. Strangely, amidst the sadness I felt a sense of peace.

The past month, I have been following news of his critical condition and have mixed feelings. As much as I would love to see him during this year's SG50 National Day Parade emerging like a triumphant victor and saying,

"Don't anyhow say me OK, you si geena on the Internet."

I also pray for his peaceful passing so that he could finally be reunited with his beloved wife Madam Kwa Geok Choo.

‘For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama’s, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life.’ - Source: The Sunday Times October 2, 2011

True that many complain about Mr LKY's draconian measures but didn't everything that he had done led Singapore to where we are today?

Together with other founding fathers of Singapore, Mr LKY spent so much of his life building up this country and bringing us to where we are today. He led us from Third World to First, transforming Singapore into a thriving cosmopolitan city-state with a strong Singapore dollar. He gave us stability and prosperity. He uplifted the lives of Singaporeans generations after generations.

I have a country which gives me a sense of identity and with a million and one things to be proud of. I love Singapore and I'm proud to be a Singaporean.

This acrostic poem tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew by Winston Ng aptly sums up the sentiments of many Singaporeans.


Dear Mr Lee Kuan Yew,

You are someone I can't say I love but I truly respect you... A LOT. I respect you for all that you have done for Singapore and for your undying love for your wife. It is time for you to go. For you to be reunited with your beloved wife.

Thank you for all your years of service to Singapore, to us. Your legacy lives on!

May you rest in peace, Sir.

Yours truly,
A Singapore child


After note:

My tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew first appeared this morning on my Facebook note. I edited the privacy the "public" for a while to share the link on my other social media platforms but decided to edit back to "friends only" and to reproduce and add more contents on my blog. 

For my foreign blog readers. I would share some reading materials which I personally found very inspiring on Mr LKY below:

A 17-min video on Singapore's founding father

The touching love story between Mr and Mrs LKY in a digestible read. I teared reading this article. 

This piece was written by Dr Lee Wei Ling, daughter of Lee Kuan Yew, shortly after the death of her mother, the late Kwa Geok Choo. Through her words, we see a different side to the typically stern former prime minister of Singapore.
Love Does Indeed Spring Eternal

#leekuanyew #lky #thankyoulky #riplky #proudtobeasingaporean #singaporemyhome

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Healthy Lifestyle Starts with a Walk at MacRitchie

I used to run a lot.

I was not a runner in the school team or anything but I loved to run. I was rather active and healthy back in secondary school and JC days.

I would always remember that fateful day during 1st 3 month JC days when I ran more than 20 rounds around the track trying out for the different CCAs... all in a day. And I continued to run to try out for more CCAs over the week. I think I ran more than 50 rounds that week.

I wonder how my body took it back then.

And then everything spiralled downwards when I started working.

There was once a few years ago when I was running my second round around the track of my neighbourhood sports complex. I was already feeling dead beat and started to jog instead of run. The next moment, an old man with a full head of shiny grey hair dashed past me and became the size of a mere peanut in just seconds.

I knew I was too tired to continue and pride took over the instance I saw "Silver Peanut" across the track to my left. I slowly jogged my way to the fitness corner and started doing sit ups before Silver Peanut dashed past me the second time.

The whole time I was pretending to do doing sit ups, Silver Peanut ran 4 more rounds.

Either Silver Peanut was awesome or I was awful.

The only exercise I engage in nowadays would be walking -- from my desk to the loo, to the different departments, to lunch venues and during daily commutes.

Like a bolt from the blue, I decided to embark on a healthier lifestyle from now onwards. If I could neither run nor jog that much any more, I figured I could still walk.

We usually love to sleep in till afternoon on Saturdays to replenish all the lost sleep over the work week (4-6 hour sleep per day). Two Saturdays ago, we both happened to rouse up at 8am and I decided to drag the hubby out for a walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

It was the first time taking the boardwalk route. Despite the humidity, it was really lovely walking by the reservoir under the cool shade of trees.

Yeah, I should not be wearing fashionable Puma sneakers for a walk at Mac Ritchie but one sole of my Asics sports shoes had come off since the last walk a year ago, leaving me with the excuse not to exercise for that same period of time.

So comfortable was that part of the trail that the hubby morphed into a social media junkie and was thumbing away at his phone posting photos on Facebook and replying to comments.

I love it when nature is accommodated into refurnished spaces like how this horizontal tree is incorporated into the boardwalk space instead of being chopped down.

Btw, the sign cautions people of the low height. Evil kh uploaded this photo on Facebook and started tagging his short friends saying that they would not hit their heads on this tree. -_-|||

My triceps are loose and flabby. Kh asserts that when I wave, the flabs of my chicken wing arms would flap into my face. -_-||| So I declared I should tone my arms by lifting the water bottle in this manner while walking. I only succeeded a set of 10 coz I looked stupid and would stop whenever there were people in sight.

I was really intrigued by the water plants dancing a little water dance with the ebb and flow of the waves.

I don't know much about water plants but I do know that these remind me of the burial ground in the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In my mind's eye when I read the part on the underwater cemetery, this just the sort of picture I painted.

Of course you need to imagine that you are a tiny little human being to see what I mean.

You know you have watched too many cartoons when you spotted this and whispered to the husband, "I suspect there is somebody hiding under the water. Look at the breathing tube."

There were lots to marvel at along the boardwalk like monkeys...

... and a little tree that has sprouted starkly in the water without a care in the world that it is out of place.

This part of the reservoir converges into some "water trap". Look at the taller grass further in the picture. You would sink into the water if you walked there. Beautiful but deadly.

This signboard lied. We seemed to walk forever and did not reach the Tree Top Walk. We set a more realistic goal of reaching the Jelutong Tower. Neither did we reach there. I blamed the scorching sun.

Let's do the limbo rock! How low can you go?

I never liked the gravelled forest trail back during cross-country days and I detest it still. The gravel path is to prevent mudslides during rainy days but my knees started to ache like a grandmama's during rainy days as my feet slid across gravel after gravel.

After we emerged from the forest trail, the golf course scene greeted us. I was so thankful to be walking on dirt path instead of sliding over gravels.

However, the scorching sun was a huge turn off.

Our water had run out and the water body of the golf course was like an oasis to me.

Remember the sign post from before? At the next signboard with a simplified map, the hubby deduced that we had to walk about 2 hours in total to the Jelutong Tower and back to the shade of the forest trail and suggested we head back since I was almost dying of thirst.

Even though Singapore is a tropical country without the 4 seasons, the blooming of flowers seem to coincide with the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Certain trees would see bursts of blooms during the month of March.

Little fallen yellows.

This is another stretch of deadly trap. Under all the greens is huge water body.

Back into the forest path, I heard sounds of crackling leaves only to see a monitor lizard. How this predator crept noisily through the dead leaves and be able to catch its prey is beyond me.

By the time we caught a glimpse of civilization far ahead, my fingers had gone really numb. It was the first time in my life I experienced numbness and I concluded that I've not exercised for so long that I had become really weak. The only thought I had done to keep myself going was 1, 2, 3 100 Plus, 1, 2, 3, 100 Plus. I was almost seeing white from dehydration and craved for nothing but 100 Plus.

I wondered if monkeys used this as a swing.

Have pity on the monkeys. Do not feed them. What a funny way to warn people not to feed the monkeys.

Monkeys monkeys everywhere.

This was my favourite sight of all -- The cafe in the distance!

The nostalgic zig zag bridge. We would usually do warm ups before crossing the zig zag bridge to the start point of the cross-country race back in school.


After the walk, we indulged ourselves with 100 Plus served in a glass with straw and shared a Red Bull Float. Drinks always feel a lot more refreshing when drunk from a straw.

Ending off this post with a picture of us and our dead beat expressions. We walked for about 8km and we didn't even reach our destination. Sad case.

After this episode, I feel strongly for the need to exercise on a more regular basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

How about you? Do you lead a healthy lifestyle? What are some exercises that you incorporate in your daily life? 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Hair Date with Bestie Cyn

More than a week ago, I had a hair date with my bestie Cyn.

I'm not sure if other gals have hair dates with their gal pals too or is it just us being bimbotic. The last time we had a hair date was 3 years ago when we were trying to normalize our lives after my god daughter Charmaine's passing.

This time, we decided to seize the opportunity to have almost a full day out without the kids before Cyn started an office-hours job. I took leave to meet the day after her birthday so that we could have a girls day out together on a week day.

Bimbos being bimbos, we had a before hair transformation shot by our favourite stylist, Leslie, from Private Hair Studio.

Ever since Cyn introduced me to Leslie, I've never found another stylist I like so much.

His charges may be higher than your average salon since he is located in Far East Plaza and he is after all, a director. Price aside, we like his professionalism and skills, and he uses really good products. Yes, we could tell the difference in products! He knows our natural hair texture, behaviour, scalp condition and would always tailor our hair according to these factors.

On a personal level, he is also more like a friend to us and we would always have endless topics to chat and laugh about. He is a great family man too. What Chinese call 二十四孝. He is 二十四孝 father, husband and son to his family.

Cyn had a super bleached "dirty blonde fringe" (she used that term herself) which looked totally fine in the photo up there but super dirty blonde with flash on as seen in the photo below. Moreover, her hair was dyed a reddish brown at some salon that offered really cheap hair colouring a while ago just before a job interview and it had faded to this brown-blonde look (above).

As for me, I wanted a much shorter hair length and a change in hair shape. I was getting tired of too long a hair that had become quite coarse and unruly with the hair ends going in all zig zag directions due to the change in pH of the water in my area recently. Surprisingly on the day we went to the salon, I was quite happy with how my hair looked from the front...

... but not so much from the back.
My layers just wouldn't curve inwards according to my face shape on bad hair days. It would sometimes go into an ugly S-shape at the sides and the back V is losing its shape even on smooth-hair days like that day.

The photo below was taken when my hair was at its longest ever last November before a 3-inch trim and overall shaping. The longest layer was at the waist and I cringed at the inconvenience of it being too long.

Even the pony tail was getting too heavy and losing its shape!

(Aside: On the day these photos were taken, my hair actually felt very smooth to the touch. However, I adjusted the brightness and contrast for clearer depiction and horrors of horrors, my hair looked super bad. Just perfect for depicting the state of my hair!)

This was the trim last November. I did not take any photo of my hair on the floor last week as it was too much and would probably be too gross to snap.

I felt really courageous that day and kept asking Leslie to cut shorter and shorter and shorter. When I asked for his views on whether I should cut my hair to slightly longer than chin length, he said he would do so if I was able to bear with my natural hair qiao-ing (curling outwards/sticking out) without any styling and products. He sure knows my character well!

At that moment, all the people I know with that length of hair flashed through my mind and it is true that all of them would have hair that qiao without styling. Hence, I decided not to chop off more. Perhaps when I'm not lazy enough to style my hair every morning before work, I would go chin length short.

Our new hairdo!
Cyn had violet brown to cover the dirty blonde fringe and had her hair curled. I hacked half my hair off, did away with the V-shape and sported a blunt cut to complement the shorter do. As for colouring, I did a softbre tone to save money on future hair colour. We love our new hair!

Our hair looks like this under the sun.
Top LR: Cyn's multi-colour hair is so chio and the violet parts are so obvious under the sun.
Bottom LR: I did a darker softbre which is not obvious in photos but under the sun looks a little like Cyn's hair.

Not sure if you could see the softbre tone. Slightly different from highlights, softbre is when little streaks of hair are bleached/dyed in a lighter tone and thereafter using a darker tone to cover the entire hair.

The effect would be a softer difference in regrowth colour as compared to one tone colour. I just hope that my hair stays dark as I do not want a lighter-coloured hair with stark black roots.

My hair is now at its shortest in 10 years. Yes! 10 years ago was when I last had hair this short. This hairstyle is the only time I come back from the salon with the dear hubby saying "Wow, you cut your hair so short!" Usually he couldn't even tell the difference even when I snipped inches off on a few occasions.

We had really late lunch of salted egg yolk dishes. I ordered the chicken which I loved to bits.

Cyn ordered the pork ribs. While salted egg yolk pork ribs is usually the signature dish, we found the chicken more tender.

Thank you Cyn for introducing me to such a great dish. I love salted egg yolk anything!

There are 2-3 places in Far East Plaza (FEP) that serve salted egg yolk pork ribs. This one we went to has orange signboard and is called "Susan" something. It is supposedly the pioneer one in salted egg yolk dishes though the others became more popular. Cyn and the people at Private Hair Studio all felt that this is the better one!

We shared the hot and spicy soup which was yummy too! Now I know of another eatery to go to when at FEP.

Oh btw, I really love this My Little Pony hair of one of the stylists/assistants there. Super pretty!

And I seldom see violet hair that lasts as long as on this pretty mummy, who is another stylist at the salon.

So far, I really love my much shorter hair as well as the blunt cut look. I feel lighter and fresher and the ends feel really smooth. The only thing I would MISS about my long V-shape hair style would be the lovely curls that I could achieve with it. Say bye bye to them.

My hair shape then and now.


A little rant here. You could skip it if you dislike MBJ aka Mean Bitch Jo.

While crafting this post, I wanted to get something out of my chest. Over the past 2 years, there were always the same few people PLUS my mum (my greatest critic) who would never fail to tell me that my hair was very looooooong. The way these people uttered it sure sounded negative to me and it got me very puzzled if my hair was really too long and ugly.

The constant comments made me insecure for a while that me being bimbotic, asked my dear hubby and my different groups of good friends if my hair was too long and ugly.

In general, all of them replied honest yet lovely words like how my hair was quite long but it was healthy, shiny, smooth, nice shape and _________. (Fill in other positive adjectives used to describe hair.)

Two of my gal pals felt that my style of long hair was synonymous to me and had since been my trademark.

One asked if my hair was dyed black because long black hair could look scary/ugly.

Another asked if my hair had become really bad since she last saw me for people to keep commenting.

A gal pal with longer hair than me also identified with me as somebody she disliked often told her how long her hair was and she simply could not understand how this fact could be harped on time and again. Like what was she supposed to reply after the 374034th time?

Another gal pal bluntly said that my long hair totally doesn't irritate her one bit and started a whole reminder about her ex classmate whose long hair should be the one being harped on. She had butt-length hair the last time she told me about her and now she has leg-length hair. Not only is her long, thin, straggly black hair leg-length hair sweeping everything in the way, she seemed to love it a lot and insisted that's her trademark whenever people tell her it is very long. My gal pal also suspected that most nutrients go to her hair instead of her brains coz she says the dumbest thing ever and often irritates the group. She ended off assuring me that I was nothing like that.

How reassuring!

And then of course guys all like my long hair. Don't 90% of guys love long hair?

As I heard these words from my good friends, I felt comforted. I've always had long hair since I stopped wearing school uniforms and nobody except my mum would comment that my hair was too long.

I had people around me with much longer hair than me with worse hair shape, one-length fanning outwards hair, straggly layers, coarser texture, dry edges, unhealthy coloured hair, one tone black hair etc and nobody ever told them that their hair was too looooooong too.

Personally, I would only say that somebody's hair is too long if their hair embodies any of those aforementioned qualities.

Don't get me wrong. I'm focusing on the action of constantly commenting and not the people. These people are lovely people and we have great friendship. It's just that constantly hearing comments about my hair being very long had gotten on my nerves and I had never ranted out before until today.


You could read more about my bimbotic hair transformation over the years post if you're interested. Don't laugh at my younger Ah Lian days with blonde hair, thin eyebrows and think-I'm-so-cool dress sense.

What was the most drastic thing you have ever done to your hair?

Or have you always wanted a hair transformation that you didn't have the courage for?

Have you ever experienced people commenting about your hair way too much?

Do share with me some of your hair stories!


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