Rest well, Mr Lee Kuan Yew

I have never met you in real life – you’re a figure I’ve read only in my Social Studies & History textbooks.

When news was out that you have been hospitalised since February 5, speculations on whether you were leaving us were flying around. When the Prime Minister’s Office started giving updates on a daily basis, we knew that time is nearing.

We knew that you will leave us sooner or later – death is part & parcel of life. Yet when news broke on March 23 that you passed away peacefully, we were all saddened.

Every year during the national day parade, I’d always look forward to your arrival. This year’s celebration will be different without you.

Throughout the week, I cried. Especially when articles about the other side of you were being shared on the social media platforms – a side that was unknown to many of us. Especially when articles on how strongly you fought for us ever since you took office in 1959 were shared.

“I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.” – Lee Kuan Yew

No words can describe my gratitude for the sacrifices you have made for us. I’ll never have the chance to thank you in person, for allowing me to reap the rewards that you have sowed.

“My definition of an educated man is a man who never stops learning and wants to learn.” – Lee Kuan Yew

One of your many quotes in your speech in February 1977 on education. It’s also a quote that I’ve been following – 活到老学到老 (translate – learn as you age). I’ll continue to stand by it for as long as I can.

Rest well Mr Lee. It is somehow a relief that you are now reunited with Mrs Lee, the love of your life. Don’t worry about leaving us behind, we’ll continue to stay united and become the Singapore that you have visioned.

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while queueing at the padang to pay our last respects
while queueing at the padang to pay our last respects
one of the beautiful sights part of his creation
one of the beautiful sights part of his creation

2015-03-28 02.08.55

after 7hrs in an orderly queue
after 7hrs in an orderly queue, we’re finally at the Parliament House

RIP XM

It’s official.

My previous company, where I stayed for 6 months before I left for further studies in 2003, and 6 years as my first job after graduation in 2007, has been merged with many other agencies worldwide to form a new agency.

I remember being excited when an ex-colleague from iT21 sent me a jobstreet link about an opening at XM Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. Back in 2003, after 2 years being a multimedia programmer, I wanted to move on to doing something related to the internet. Something which I was very interested in as it was an IN thing and I had a Diploma in Internet Computing. So when this job opening came about, I hopped on. After 2 rounds of interview, I finally fulfilled one of my dreams of working in the advertising industry – as a webmaster.

It was a short stint, as I decided to go for further studies (which was in my plan after graduating with a diploma in 2001) when NTU offered me a place. Even as an undergrad, I often went back to do freelance. You can imagine how passionate I was about the internet. And how I love that place – the environment, the culture. Sadly, when school workload increased (plus I had many other commitments), I stopped working freelance for them (partly also because the person I usually liaised with left the company).

Because I had such great memories at XM, I connected with my ex-supervisor few days before my final exams. So I rejoined XM as an Associate Consultant (Technology Solutions).

At the blink of the eye, I spent 5.5 years in XM – including a short 9 months stay at Hong Kong working on an overseas project.

Bittersweet memories I have of XM. Though I was worn out (as early as a few months into the job), I stayed on due to the passion towards it. I love the place. I love the colleagues.

Yesterday, it was officially announced that XM will be merged with many other agencies to form a new network.

Even though I’ve left for 2 years (decided to move on to pursue my other dream of working in the education industry), I still feel connected to XM in a way or another. It’s like once you’re a student of a school and takes part in many activities, you become attached to it. Though I have my grouses about this place, I’m still proud to have been a part of it.

RIP XM. You will be greatly missed. No matter what, you have a special place in my heart.

Who will be there

Logged in to the blog, hoping to get some inspiration and write something.

At the corner of the admin page, lie the many drafts that have left forgotten. Neglected.

And this caught my eye.

因为你的出现,我的生活有了小小的转泪点。

It was dated all the way back to 2013 September.

And I wondered why that line went unpublished.

I can’t remember why, but I can deduce why.

  • Some topics are within a stay-away zone, regardless within the blog or in real-life conversations.
  • I was (still is) concerned about how people see me as.
  • There was no inspiration to continue after writing that line.

All three are valid points, and possibly it was due to these factors combined.

For someone who thinks that she has always been doing the right thing (well, all humans do, don’t we?), it takes a lot of courage to face the negative side of ourselves. When people surrounding her points out the issues that she has been refusing to acknowledge, she tends to stay away from the topic. No one likes to admit they are wrong anyway.

For someone who likes to portray a good image to other people, sometimes it takes a while to decide if the boundary should be stepped on.

Some topics, though mentioned, were pretty cryptic in some of the blog posts. No I’m not trying to hide anything. I’m fighting very hard to resist the urge to share my thoughts, my feelings. It’s like having a secret that I want to share, but can’t because it’s supposed to be a secret. (Possibly why I have another blog locked up for such topics.)

And I’m keeping mum not because they are anything confidential. Because I don’t think anyone would be interested to know.

Or possibly because I’m embarrassed to share them.

But I guess as you grow older, the tolerance level of embarrassment goes up. Or simply 看开了.

Though sometimes I wonder, who would really be interested to know your inner thoughts? Who would be interested to know why a particular decision was made?

Possibly no one, except the one who is interested in you, as a whole.

2014 Reflections

It’s the time of the year where people will start posting on their reflections 2014 and/or resolutions for 2015.

Being an irregular blogger over these 2 years, I can’t remember if I did anything similar in 2013. Goes to show how irregular I’ve been blogging! (edit: I found a Goodbye 2013 post!)

Looking back, 2014 was eventful. Earlier this year, I wished for the ability to continue flipping the book. Though I didn’t get the opportunity to continue flipping, things were good while it lasted. :)

Earlier in the year, I started classes on classical guitar. Music has always been a passion. Guitar wasn’t the first instrument I wanted to learn (piano is!), it is an instrument that I think is easier to bring around when the occasion rises. 10 months now and I’m getting ready to take Grade 3 LCM Practical exam in April 2015! Prepared to fail but I’ll still try my best.

2014 was also a year of a few trips. As Jiawen was on an exchange at Bath (a 2 hours bus ride from London) in the first half of the year, 2 cousins (Jiayun & Wanxin) decided to make a trip to UK/Europe before Jiawen comes back in July (the main agenda of the trip was to help Jiawen bring her stuff back). Itinerary for this trip included London / Bath, Germany (Berlin / Munich) and Switzerland (Zurich / Lucerne / Jungfrau). We purposely included Germany because Leemei (another cousin of ours) is living in Berlin and we’ve not seen her since CNY! And I thought we can save a bit on accommodation if we bunk in at her place. hehehe :P

I’ve yet sorted out the photos (procrastination wins), but the browsing of the photos is enough to make me want to go back again! Goal for 2016 perhaps?

That was the highlight of the year which happened in end May / June.

And in July, I was overseas again! Went to Malacca with J-Kai & his sister. This time round (I went Malacca with J-Kai & Jem in 2013 too), we covered new places that included the Peranakan Museum and popular eateries that were strongly recommended.

Sometime in August, there was a decision made to take on a 3-year gym membership with True Fitness. Few weeks later, I made the swop to become their lifetime member. To-date, I have been going for their classes regularly (grateful for the companion of my zumba khaki!). No regrets so far!

November was where I went Langkawi for the first time. It was also the first time I went overseas with my parents and the extended family via plane! Knowing how much I love kids, this trip allowed me to have some bonding with the 3 year old nephew and 7 month old niece.

It was also a month where I bought my own bowling ball. Thanks to peer influence of the colleagues.

In Dec, I went on to take up the (self-issued) challenge of running 10km at Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Despite not having done any training since the registration in Aug (I think), I still managed to clock 1:33:56 (compared to the last run in 2012 – which was also my first attempt – at 1:35:xx). Slight improvement in timing and I felt less lethargic after the run compared to 2 years ago. I guess the regular zumba classes helped!

As I did some searching on blog posts on resolutions for the past years, the one posted in 2013 for the summary of 2011/2012 sounded very sad. As I read the summary, I felt sorry for myself for not making the right decision earlier. The me now is definitely much healthier and happier! Whatever that had been killed in 2011/2012 are all coming back – photography, blogging (still not regular but at least better?). I love my current life! :)

Resolutions

I vaguely remembered I wanted to have some resolutions this time last year, but I think I didn’t jot it down because I knew that I wasn’t going to fulfil it/them. When I read that post in 2013, I realised that the resolutions listed there weren’t fulfilled (yes NONE at all!). So this year, I thought I’ll put some wants / wishes that I hope I can fulfil this year. Note the keyword – HOPE.

First on the list will be the driving license. It has been on my list since university days. I think I want to strike it off the list while I still can.

I also wish to have a highlight trip of the year. The HKG trip in Jan has been confirmed. Tentative plan for other trips are Penang in March, Bandung in June, New Zealand in Dec.

I don’t think I will have time for my language classes this year, especially if I want to continue with my guitar classes. But if time permits, I would like to resume either Japanese or Korean class. I can’t decide which one I prefer. Or I might want to pick up a new language. German perhaps?

Overall, 2014 was good. It was definitely better than 2010 – 2012 combined. I’m hoping 2015 will be awesomer!

Halloween Horror Night 4

So I did another first this year. Paid $ to get scared at Halloween Horror Night 4 at Universal Studios.

Everything was done in a rush – almost everyone was scared while in the haunted houses and quickly walked through. Would have been better if there was time to walk through individually instead of as big groups. (There are storylines for each of the houses but as we were walking through, we were mostly concentrating on where is the next scare coming instead of the story itself.) But with the crowd of 15,000, I guess crowd control was the horror for the organisers. I had fun at the haunted houses and the scare zones though, by putting my happiness on other visitors’ fear (literally translated from 把自己的快乐建在他人的痛苦上). I was laughing throughout when I hear other visitors screaming. And much more amused when people get scared by Carolyn coz of her voluptuous hairdo.

Jing's Revenge
One of the recommended haunted house – Jing’s Revenge
Jing's Revenge
Jing’s Revenge – banner outside the “school”

I went with the agenda of just watching the stage show which Carolyn wanted to watch this much as she missed it few weeks back (yes she loved ‪#‎HHN4‬ this much she visited it AGAIN). Ended up visiting all the rides that were available and completed all the haunted houses too!

Yes you didn’t read it wrongly. ALL the available rides that were opened at night. Including the Return of the Mummy ride which I was so scared of previously. Reason being I didn’t want to waste the money spent on the express pass. Hahha! Imagine entering and out all within 20 mins! Including the always-got-long-queue Transformers!! I’ll go back again just for this!

Thankful for the express pass that allowed us to skip the horrendous queues!
Thankful for the express pass that allowed us to skip the horrendous queues!

Nevertheless, it was a night well spent! I learnt to overcome my fear by setting the right expectations and be well prepared for what’s to come. That can definitely be applied to other things in life as well.

Will I be back again next year?

No I probably won’t coz I’m still not a fan of Halloween. Yet.

Yes I probably will do it for the rides as taking them at night is much more cooling as compared to day time.

过去也只是个回忆

心情不好的时候, 总会想说要把它记录下来。也算是一种解脱的方法吧?

今晚的心情, 只能说一般。就像平常一样。只是突然发现, 三个月前的伤心, 我已经彻底的放下了。

人总得往前走, 不能一直徘徊在过去吧?

But sometimes, the mind refuses to let go.

And now I can finally say, 过去也只是个回忆。

Move-In Martin

Move-In Martin!

Something that passengers who rely heavily on buses understand (or probably not). It irks me when people do not move in, or lean against those poles, when there are still people outside the bus, at the entrance, waiting to board.

Who is to blame?

Bus providers for not providing enough buses to cater for the “crowd”?

Government for trying to push for a 6.9mil population?

Or simply the passengers themselves for not putting in that little effort that helps to help themselves? How much does it cost you to move your feet for 50cm? Even a tiny 10cm matters when it comes to crowded buses. Only when the buses are truly fully packed that we as passengers, are able to convince the bus providers that they NEED to provide more buses.
You don’t want to be late, other people don’t want to be late either. From my few years of experience of taking buses to school / work (I don’t stay near any MRT station nor bus interchange, and I usually board the bus either at the last bus stop before it hits the expressway – BKE, or the first bus stop after the bus exits the expressway. Where in both directions, the buses are already packed with passengers.), if you don’t board the bus from the bus interchange (if you are lucky enough to stay near it!), chances are, you won’t be able to board the bus until the peak period is (almost) over and you will be late for school / work!

And why is that so? Because passengers on board are not moving in. A “crowded” bus is deemed to be crowded when the first half of the bus is packed like sardines. But when you take a closer look, the passengers at the second half of the bus generally have their little privacy zone of radius 30cm. Sounds illogical but this is a scene that I have seen many times – if you know the amount of time I spent travelling on buses everyday.

So my little plea to fellow passengers, please make the little effort of moving in. If you are too engrossed looking at the tiny screen of yours (i.e. handphones) to watch out for the crowd, at least try to make sure that you do not have a big gap between you and another passenger.

Buses are public transport, so let’s play a part in making bus journeys more enjoyable (or tolerable). For only then will your bus journeys be more tolerable (enjoyable)!

(This is a video produced by the Land Transport Authority, as a campaign to get passengers to move in. Weird as it seems, but it does bring the point across.)

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

52 weeks ago, I first stepped foot into my alma mater not as an alumni but as a staff.

6-May-2013 was a pretty memorable day, not only because I started work at a new place, but also because my bus broke down in the middle of the expressway! Imagine my horror back then when we were told to alight at the slip road of BKE-PIE. *horror faced* (An incident worth remembering as not everyone gets a chance to walk along the expressway with the traffic police blocking the traffic for you on a busy Monday morning during the rush hour :P)

Throughout the whole year, it felt like a dream. Everyday was like being on honeymoon. It never occurred to me that I would be able to contribute to my school in such a way! (Of course, you will need to minus off those days where you hear me complain about being in winterland.)

It had always been a dream to work in the education sector – my first dream job as a primary school kid was to become a teacher. (One of my gfs mentioned to me that my dreams are diversified and I have to say she is right! heehee) Despite not being in the academic team now, it is still wonderful to be able to kill 2 birds with 1 stone – doing things that I love with just 1 job. :)

So I have to say, I have fulfilled one of my (many) dreams. Achievement unlocked? :D

There will definitely be more milestones to achieve, but to be able to keep the passion and love in the job is what makes one feel blessed. Nothing is more important than that.

To many more good years ahead! Happy 1 year anniversary! <3 <3

天冷就回来

It has been a while since I last watched local productions. So when Lee Wei asked if I wanna watch this production, I jumped at once! And no regrets!

In my opinion, a good production is one that is able to pull your soul into the storyline. While watching the production tonight, I was drawn to tears for several scenes. Since I was seated quite far back (and couldn’t really see the expressions on the actors’ faces), it must be the plot (and of course the vocal expressions of the acting crew!) that drew me. I guess it is also partly because I could relate to some of those scenes.. They brought back memories. :'(

Those songs that were used, were mostly what I’d heard before. Imagine singing along during the production. heehee :D

I might just watch it again in the next re-run!

Oh by the way, I saw 梁文福老师 up close! But was too shy to take a photo with him. *little fan girl scream*

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Sharing a poem that was used in the production. Thought it’s interesting to share :)

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Anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

E. E Cummings