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Monday, June 20, 2016

June Getaway to Bintan, The Canopi.

For this year's holiday, we chose a destination which we have avoided for a long time!! Our last visit was probably in the mid-1990s before we were even married! I think! I really cannot remember.  I only remembered the name of the resort - Sedona Beach Resort -- understand that it's been rebranded and now known as Bintan Lagoon Resort.

Anyway, the reason we were not keen on Bintan was primarily we thought it was full of singaporeans (it still is i think!) and quite pricey -- as prices were similar to singapore.  So after 1 visit, we thought we will give it a miss since there are other more interesting and worthy destinations to visit! heehee.

However, when I saw pictures of The Canopi, and because i was really keen on the idea of glamping (having read about it much earlier) -- i thought it's a good chance to try since it's so near home too!

Bintan, well, there were still many singaporeans and yes, prices are still similar to Singapore.  But i think prices have ran away so much in singapore that Bintan prices now appears slightly more reasonable....LOL.  More importantly, the activities available were really kids-friendly and i am glad we did not close our mind to Bintan as a holiday destination.  Overall, it was an enjoyable time and just like our Langkawi experience, so glad we gave it a try! 

But, comparing Bintan and Langkawi, i personally think Langkawi is a nicer destination.  The advantage that Bintan has over Langkawi is that it is nearer to Singapore and accessible by ferry which makes it cheaper and faster. 

My complaint about Bintan is that it feels very man-made (but of course it is!) unlike Langkawi :) and where we stayed, there weren't many shops/F&B outlets within walking distance.

Will i go back to Bintan again? Probably....only because i have a child and i think she will enjoy it!

Here's my review of The Canopi on tripadvisor.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Post parent-teacher meet thoughts

Last Saturday was the PTM (parent-teacher meeting) with K's school teachers.

I kind of look forward to meeting the teachers to hear their views of K... even though there's also contact throughout the semester ...guess the Semester 1 results provide a good reference point.

Anyway, their feedback about her behavior is quite consistent to what we have heard in P1 and P2 - so that's OK. The usual friendly, caring, likeable comments :)   She seems more confident in class now ... in P2 her Chinese form teacher ever commented to us that she likes to 'hide behind' her classmates and relies on others for answers/thoughts. Seems like no such comment this year.

When it comes to her work, while the teachers generally have positive comments about her, there are also areas she needs to improve on:

- not handing in her work (late or completely not handing in Chinese homework)

- distracted in class. (Maths)

Her Maths teacher told us frankly that she was pleasantly surprised by K's Maths results.  I think she was expecting a much lower score... lol. And she was telling us that K generally has a lot of corrections for the work done and she often does not know what's happening in class -_-  I guess I am not surprised by the feedback. .. because I have seen her worksheets and practice papers ..... full of mistakes! Thank God she decided to be careful and put in the effort during her Semestral exam.

Whereas her Chinese teacher seemed resigned to the fact that she is one of those students who is not diligent when it comes to homework 😑  poor teacher.  I think K is taking advantage of her 'kindness'.

K is most afraid of her English teacher who has a reputation for being fierce. But sadly, English is also the subject she fared worst. Let's see if I can help her brush up her English this June. 

The funny thing is I think the English teacher prepares the girls quite well for exams ... so there is a disconnect for me in terms of the results. Maybe K is trying so hard not to be scolded by the teacher in class that she is missing out on what is actually taught ! Haha.

Well, let's see how terms 3 and 4 go!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rough ride ahead - part 2

Spent the last few years rebalancing our portfolio and cutting out some worthless crap.

Hopefully it is enough to sail through the days ahead without too much of a dent.

Yield wise, results have been satisfactory.  Managed to achieve my annual dividend (based on last 4 years portfolio)  collected in the first 4 months this year. That's what I was working towards.  Doubling the dividend yield and actual amount collected. Hope it all turns out as expected!

Wish me luck !

Rough ride ahead I think....

Singapore unexpectedly eases currency policy

Friday, January 22, 2016

Is it any different in Primary 3? - Part 2

For some unknown reason, Kaira seems a little more responsible with the start of the new school year.  The change is "sudden" in my opinion ..... it's like just a few days before the start of the school, she was still the same old 8 year old ;) but with the start of the new school year .... i can see a slight positive change.

For one, she started to be more responsible with respect to the homework assigned by her teachers.  For the last 2 years -- as homework was rather infrequent, maybe she isn't used to it ;p -- she will forget that she has homework and she usually never did them until reminded by the teacher or if for some reason I am aware of it, i will ask her about it.

But with the start of the new academic year, she surprised me by doing her homework without being asked/told.  and no complaints whatsoever.  What a splendid change i thought!  How that happened, i don't know.  Maybe it is a - going on-9 phase??

#2, in the past she hardly tells me the instructions that the teachers give.  Or if there's any communication. she will tell me that she has forgotten or she will get the details wrong. But this year she is communicating the instructions more! and they are usually accurate.

#3 used to have to take the longest time to wake her up in the mornings!  This year, miraculously she has been very cooperative so far! no dragging her feet whatsoever in the mornings.  so much easier to wake her up compared to the last 2 years! Praise the Lord.

Certainly hope that these positive changes will continue and that there will be more positive changes!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is it any different in Primary 3?

This year marks the start of a new phase for little (well maybe not so little afterall) Kaira.  Primary 3.  Why new ? Introduction of Science as an additional subject. and believe it or not, more homework and expectations from the teachers!

I am so not used to it honestly.

So to a certain extent, it is true - P1 and P2 years are honeymoon years!! And looking back, I am kind of glad that i chose to be more relaxed during the 2 years and her days are filled with playdates and fun times after school.  Once this phase past, we will never get it back isn't it?

of course it doesn't mean that she doesn't do any studying or work.  but my emphasis was more on her weak areas -- through the worksheets/test results that she received, i was able to identify certain areas of weakness in her academic work -- and i chose to focus on these areas rather than just push her to do well for everything. my rationale was that better that she builds the foundation for the more difficult academic requirements ahead .....

to be honest, i think if i had chosen to push her harder in "studying", doing additional worksheets -- she could possibly have done better. maybe average of 5 more points per subject so that she gets closer to full marks ??   but i am not sure if that is worth the effort ................

i mean if she naturally scores full marks  -- then good for her ......... .  but if with whatever effort she puts in, she gets between 90-95 -- i think it's also good enough for P1 and P2 lah.

but 1 important "lesson" that she learnt in P1 and P2 -- which i hope will stay with her in the years to come -- was that she can do better and more if she chooses to put in the time and effort.  and stop whining and complaining!! for some reason, she has the bad habit of "complaining/whining" about how difficult things are ....that she can't do it .... and she will give up halfway because she feels that its too difficult. 

i am not sure where this trait came from ... but it became fairly apparently with the start of primary school.

So of the subjects that she didn't like very much initially is Maths.  She is not the kind that find pleasure or satisfaction in sovling challenging maths problems.  I know some kids are.  They are motivated to do well and they will try to solve the problem because they take pride in being able to solve the problem. My daughter is not one of them.

Once she encounters a more difficult problem -- which actually if u break it down and maybe think about it -- it's not that difficult afterall -- she will just say she doesn't know how to do it. and sometimes refer to the answer key..... 气死我了! this more so in P2 as the problem sums gets a little more challenging.

for the last term in P2, i spent more time with her on Maths - explaining the answers to her and getting her to practice.  and of course, reminding her to be careful and to check her work (she is simply very careless in her work -- so much so that she can miss out an entire page during tests....).

finally in her SA2 maths paper -- she scored a perfect score and i can tell that she was very pleased and happy.  and i had to reinforced the point that hardwork and being careful can make a difference.... now, i am still using this as an example to encourage her. and she acknowledges that because she went through the process and she saw the improvement in her results. 

I am grateful for this teachable moment.

This year, i told her we will have to do the same for her English and Chineses --- for they have been neglected during last 2 years....haha..... especially her English! So atrocious now. let's see.

i do feel that she seems to have less time after school these days as she comes home with homework everyday! what a difference from P1 and P2 :(  i don't want to add to her burden by giving her more work .... but o well, let's see how things go.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Standing in the gap.

So there I was sitting in church and struggling with the behaviour of a specific individual that has been made worse with our relocation to Singapore 4 years ago... so much so that i wish at times that we are still living overseas.

At this point where I am struggling with anger, resentment, indignance. .. God chose to put a thought it me.

A thought that I would love to reject but I know I cannot.

Honestly I have mostly tried to ignore or pretend to be unperturbed by the specific individual. But I know I am. Deep within, subconaciously the resentment has grown so much in me that it has taken a toll on me and my closest. Especially in the last 4 years. The negative thoughts I have entertained were endless and scary.  So much so I am angry at the individual for being a stumbling block in my life.

Alot of times I feel terrible because I felt that I shouldn't be such a small minded person. That i shouldn't be so judgemental.  That i should be more accomodating, loving, thoughtful. And that I should try to accept the behavior/comments -- at least don't be too disturbed by it.   But I found that I can't.  Maybe it is pride.  Maybe it is because i am opinionated. Maybe it is because i believe that while basic respect is a given any more needs to be earned regardless of seniority. Maybe it is something else.  I don't know. Maybe I am just being difficult and spoilt.

I find it very difficult to accept something that I feel is wrong.  This has been a point of contention for me for the longest time.....

And yet God says let us put this aside. Whether I can accept it or not does not matter. (What?!?) Whether I like it or not makes no difference. I am to stand in the gap and pray. Pray for the person.  What??! Pray for someone that is driving me nuts??

O dear. Can I do it? By my own physical strength and human mental capacity - honestly no.

God knows i cannot.  So He even put the gist of the prayer into my mind and so here goes ....

Dear Lord, I pray for myself (and the person I am representing) :

- I pray that you will forgive me (and the person I am standing in the gap for) of my focus on myself;

- help me (and the person) to let go of the past and break the chains that bind. Chains of low self esteem, insecurity and lack of significance;

- soften my (and the person's) heart so that I am open to your words and wisdom and the counsel of the people around me.

- remove my pride (and the person's) as it is standing in the way of your work in me. 

- help me (and who I represent) so that I can enjoy and experience the freedom that is in you. Free to love, free to receive, free to give. Free from expectations. Free from self criticism. Free from the negativity that others generate.

I pray all these in Jesus' name. Amen.

The reason I am writing this prayer down is to remind me to pray. To continue to stand in the gap. To encourage myself to follow the ways of the Lord rather than wallow in self pity and feeling indignant. 

Reminder that while I may not agree with the behaviour and I don't accept the comments, thoughts and behaviour -- I can continue to pray for the person.  It doesn't mean I embrace all that the person says and do.  But it does mean that I acknowledge that any improvement or change that I see is the work of God for there is nothing that I can do. I can only pray. 

It seems impossible. But I am therefore praying for a miracle that things will change and improve. That God will move wondrously.

It is only possible with the grace of God.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


认为别人不尊重你 - 是不是应该先检讨一下自己的言行举止。

觉得自己没错, 那是不是该考虑略有 不同的观点? 为什么别人会有不同的想法?

我想有些人的固执。。。 害己又害人。

对别人总是表现的非常随和, 明白事理, 处处为他人着想。对子女的不同观点却一点也不试着了解。总喜欢把带有"威胁"性的话挂在嘴边。。。到底是什么用意?  什么不尊敬, 不体会你的感受, 没跟你多说几句话。。。是我听了也觉得莫名其妙。


Blessing or Not?

When your blessing becomes more of a burden to the recipient - maybe it is time to reconsider what constitutes a blessing.

Maybe it is the recipient's own perception or lack of self esteem that makes the blessings a burden.

Maybe it is what is said and how it is communicated that the blessing unknowingly becomes a burden.

Either way -- it is a sad thing. Something that is meant to be good and beautiful becoming a burden.

And sadly people don't reflect much on their actions and their consequences.