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Friday, March 27, 2015

Goodbye Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Thank you for all that you have done.

23 March 2015, I woke up to news (which i have been anticipating but do not wish for it to come true) that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.

It has finally happened. I am not sure how I actually felt. It wasn't just grief.  It was more than that.  Much more.

Friends who know me will know that the governing party, which is synonymous with Mr Lee Kuan Yew has my support. Sure there were areas I wasn't happy about but they have my support.

It wasn't  so when I was younger.

When I was in my 20s/early 30s I really couldn't be bothered with politics. I didn't see/understand the impact that it had on me or my loved ones. To me, whatever I had at the point in life was either provided for by my family or achieved through my own efforts. Government ? Politics? I was clueless.

How ignorant I was. And to think I am educated?!? *ashamed*

In fact I was rather unhappy with my life in Singapore that I was harbouring thoughts/plans about immigration. what was I unhappy about? Honestly, looking back now I don't really remember.... maybe the stress of working/living in Singapore; maybe the grass is greener on the other side syndrome where everywhere else simply looked more attractive. More space. More nature. Less stress.  More leisurely pace. Whatever.

When the opportunity came for hubby to work overseas we gamely went! That decision took us to Hong Kong and Netherlands for a total of 8 years. 说长不长 说短不短。

And it is during this time that my views of Singapore and our leaders took a shift.

In fact it took a turn for the worse initially. ... cos I felt that the government was losing touch with the ground. And of course it was easy to criticise on paper.

And things are always simpler when there is only 1 perspective.  Mine. 

They should have done this. Consider that. Why wasn't there more communication and planning ? Questions and criticisms abound.

But we all know (or do we?).... That governing the country is truly an enormous task.... I am not sure even if i tried.... would I be able to comprehend all the mind boggling affairs. ... macro, micro, international and stuff.   Not forgetting differing views from the population ....


Anyway, I digress.

But things started to change as I interact with people of different nationalities and begin to understand a little about the struggles/problems that their nations face.  And having lived in 2 other countries I experienced some of these challenges as well. And I experienced too the feeling of being viewed as  the 'foreign talent' (a nicer way of putting it....) and it became clearer to me that each nation has unique challenges and as a citizen of one country.... how should i play my part? Complain and complain and hoping for change (which may or may not be better)? Or find ways to constructively contribute and consider various perspectives?

I think the other thing that changed me was after I had my daughter.  It was a subtle change.  Somehow having a child made me consider issues I didnt think were important before. My perspectives also changed slightly.

You know when  I was working - usually i try to be in control of the work situation .... I see my job as one that includes strategising to meet business targets, to  solve problems, anticipate challenges and had contingent plans... and usually things work out e.g. Our marketing plan will be launched per plan, business targets will be met, service issues anticipated or resolved. ..  and at the end of the day the bosses are happy, everyone's happy, we receive our salaries and bonuses.

But raising a child wasn't that straight forward.

As my daughter grew.... I realised that the best of my intentions may not turn out the way I want it.... my daughter may not respond in a way I anticipate. She has her own mind and opinions. I try to motivate her but she may not bite.  it's a learning process. What are her needs? How do I nurture her? How can I help her to succeed?  What about her emotional needs?  

Nowadays we will get into arguments sometimes.  She doesn't understand why I want things done certain ways. Why her suggestions were not approved. And simply why can't she do things her way? I try to explain my rationale. Get her buy-in.   It doesn't work some times and I take out my trump card : I am the mother, you are my child, follow me. ;p o dear! So draconian! Just like PAP in the early days! Lolol.

Of course I always tell my daughter that I have her interests at heart... that when she grows up she will understand why.... that as the older one I am more experienced. ... but I know she isn't very convinced at times.  She finds me naggy, unreasonable and why is it that she can't always get her way??

But but I am trying to protect you! I say in my heart. At the end of the day I realise that I have to let her try and fail at times, even when it is painful for me especially  when the consequences are clear to me.

And sometimes I think maybe this is the way with the government at times.... trying it's best to protect the citizens ....who may not understand or grasp it. 


Imagine governing a country. Millions of lives in your hand. Me? I am only talking about 1 and I am grappling and pulling my hair out sometimes. So I dare not say I comprehend the challenges the government face. I don't. 

I began to look back at the things the government  has done. Their 用心良苦. Trying to understand why certain actions were taken. The results.  The repercussions. I think for Singapore we had a lot more positives than negative going for us. But it was difficult at times I believe. Especially when we don't see the big picture or cannot grasp the essence. And of course there are some within the government who are totally ...... I am lost for words. .... cannot make it??

But at the end of the day what is the kind of government, leader that I (you) want? That is the fundamental question.

With Mr LKY's passing.... It is timely to reflect.  And the reason I believe so many grieved is because he is such a great leader.... listen to his speeches, look at his policies and one can see that he ALWAYS has the interests of Singapore and Singaporean first.    He didn't enter politics for the power or glory or money.  His passion for the country and his people is unwavering to the point that maybe it was stifling.  What more could I ask for in a leader? A leader who keeps his promises. Doesn't sell his country out for his personal gain.

And most fortunately for us, I feel,  his son takes a lot after his father in terms of his passion for Singapore.   Like I said before  -- when PM Lee was younger I found him arrogant and really out of touch with the ground.  But I see and feel his passion for this country, it's people. He has changed and is changing. Could be a result of the pressure from the electorate or the changing society. .. whatever it is, isn't it good that our leader  is listening and adapting?  So I always pray that the Lord will grant him wisdom to choose honest, wise and passionate people for his team. He can't do this alone. Or even with a few good man. A whole team is required and also the nation's cooperation.

There is a Chinese saying 富不过三代。 I will be lying if I say I am not a little worried for Singapore.  PM Lee is the 3rd generation leadership now.....

But I am grateful for the foundation that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has laid. The team that he has built up. I will continue to pray for my country and it's leadership.

Thank you Mr Lee. Words cannot express my gratitude.  I am grateful that I live in this city that you and your team painstakingly built. I will try my best to give back to my country, in whatever small way I can. Thank you. Rest in peace.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Latest SGD Fixed Deposit Promotion Rates - as at Feb 2015

I always wished there's a website i can go to and it displays all the Fixed Deposit promotional rates available at the point in time.

Have you found such a website?  please let me know if you have!

In the meantime, i will just have to manually search and compile the information.

And since I have done it, thought i'd just post and share it with others looking for similar information!

p/s just a note that all these information is publicly available on the bank's website.  information is for 12 month tenure only as that's what i am interested in.  there are varying rates for different tenures and amounts.  please do your own homework! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday @ NSW Australia

Went for a 9 day holiday recently to Sydney and surrounding areas.  Documenting my itinerary for future reference :

Day 1:  Arrival in AM @ Sydney airport.  Drive to Jervis Bay.
             Stay at Tranquility Beach House
Day 2 : Whale watch cruise, exploring the area
Day 3 : Hyams Beach. Drive to Bilpin, Blue Mountains (Farm stay).
             Explore the farm Bilpin Springs Lodge
Day 4 : Jenolan Caves, Echo point look out
Day 5 : Scenic World, Blue Mountains. Drive to Hunter valley. Stay Hunter Valley Resort.
             Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular
Day 6 : Horse riding, winery tour, wine tasting, shopping. Drive to Sydney
            Stay The Sydney Boulevard Hotel.  Dinner @ Chinatown
Day 7 : Walk to Opera House/Circular Quay (pass the botanic gardens)
              Ferry to Manly Beach.  The Rocks Night Market
Day 8 : Paddington Market.  Attack of the Pirates boat ride. 
             Darling habour (Tumbalong water play area+ fireworks)
Day 9 : Darling habour (again! for the kids). Depart of Singapore in the afternoon.

My reviews of the places can be found on tripadvisor if you would like to know more :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kaira's birthday celebration in school

Since her birthday is during the school holidays and we will be overseas, Kaira requested to a have a simple celebration during school recess for her.

Being the big girl she is now, she requested for cupcakes and specific designs! 

Had initially thought of ordering from someone I know but Kaira kept changing her mind about the designs she wanted .... that I thought it might be better if I make them.... plus the cost of ordering is not a small sum! I would have to spend more than $100 just for cupcakes for her class.... and how hard can it be right?!?!?

The trial run went quite smoothly I must say.... After all only Made a few!!

And honestly it was not that difficult to make cos I chose a simple cake recipe and what I thought was a very simple design!!

However, as with all homemade stuff,  it is very very time consuming!!! Just prepping the fondant took me more than 3 hours. But of course I am a first timer at doing this (2nd timer if u consider the trial run! Heehee) and really slow.

The assembling on the morning itself took about 2 hours!! There were moments I wondered if I can make it in time ?!? Of course there are hiccups..... like the circle fondant tops that I prepared turned out too big for the cupcakes I baked! (But during the trial it was perfect! Go figure ;p)  so time is spent trimming the tops etc. ...

Funny how the cupcakes on pictures/blogs all look so nice ... mine ? The cupcake wrapper started to come off after the cupcakes cooled down.... had to make a last minute purchase of cupcake wrappers the night before! Thank God I baked the cupcakes in the afternoon. ... imagine if I baked them at night...... where can I buy cupcake  wrappers at 7 in the morning? Lol.

I guess all these comes with an experience.... and if I do it again, I will be better prepared!

But haha,  unlikely I will do it again for so  many kids.... Small scale parties no problem. ...:)

o well, as long as my daughter's happy! It's worth the effort I suppose ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

So frustrated with Asus!!

I am now regretting not sticking with a more established brand when I bought my new laptop earlier this year :(

I thought I should be be open minded and try other brands. .. Instead of my trusted Japanese brands and what a pain it has been.

First time that I bought a laptop (and I have had my fair share of laptops!) that I need to send in for repair....! Aaargh.  Sucks.

Never mind the inconvenience of not having my laptop while it is repaired. ....trying to find out what is the status of the repair is worse!

When I brought it in on monday morning 18 aug, the standard reply was 3 to 5 working days.  OK.  So I wait till Friday and I called. The CSO replied... o they should be contacting me soon... The official start date of repair was 19th Aug. ... status is under repair N estimated is 3 to 5 working days and it's still within their official estimate.  


Weekend came, Monday came and went and no calls from Asus.  

I called on Tuesday. Same standard answer!! I asked for a number to call since call  center is of not much help. Sorry Madam, service centre only outbound calls. I asked CSO to check then on the status. He says he will let service centre know and by end of Tuesday to have an update.  No update.

I called on Wednesday morning. Insisted on speaking to someone with authority who could do something about finding out exactly when I can have my laptop back?  The supervisor actually said... madam I will escalate AGAIN to service centre and get back to you on FRIDAY!?!

I am surprised I did not give the supervisor a big scolding!! I am already creating a ruckus and impressed upon you that it's been too long a wait  .. and u suggest coming back to me on Friday? ??? Told her I want an answer today.

Gave her a piece of my mind. So she said she will get service engineer to call me.  No no no.... don't try to shirk responsibility here... I told her it doesn't matter who calls me.... All I want is a status (1) is my laptop repairable?  (2) how long more r u going to take? (3) why no alternate solution if I have to wait longer the said time frame??

And so i have go wait till end of today for her to come back to me on the status of my laptop repair! 

I have half decided to go buy myself a new laptop this weekend. And no, it will not be ASUS!!! have an awful feeling that even if I get back my laptop... I will continue to face problems with it!!! Aaargh.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Your Perspective. My Perspective.

Some times i wonder, if it's because of age.  or have i changed?  to be less accomodating? less patient? (ok ok, i know i know, patient is not a word to describe me anyway ! ;p) or simply that i don't wish to perpetuate what i think is not 100% accurate.  even if it's an opinion.

sometimes i wish i can just shrug off comments and let live.  it's their point of view anyway.  why should i bother?  most times i just ignore.  i mean, there's no point trying to make others see another view if they are so entrenched in their own views?  it's so painful and tiring.   and who am i to "impose" my views any way?!? like i have said, everyone has their point of view.  and there are usually 2 sides to the coin.  Why can't people see that?

of course, if it's a friendly discussion between like-minded people, the conversation can be interesting, thought provoking and absolutely rewarding.  i love those conversations. where differences are embraced and opinions shared frankly with no judgements and preconceived notions.  and usually these are the people who make good friends.

some times i wish i can just accept comments at face value and let live.  but some times it's difficult. i need to pray more. seriously.  i think over the years as i drifted away from God, i have become more and more anal.  I need to draw near to God.  To pray and ask for His grace, love and patience to grow in me so that i can have extend more grace, love and patience to others. 

But usually what irritates me are sweeping statements....

anyway, as an example.  Us moving back to singapore end 2011.

To me, there is a season for everything.  A time for every purpose under Heaven.  I embrace the Lord's plans for us and i choose to believe that His plans are the best for us at the point in time.  We can plan and plan but He orders our steps.  And through our lives, He has shown Himself to be faithful and able.  Leading us in His ways, and always providing for us.  Unfortunately, i am not as faithful to Him as He is to me.  Always the delinquent one. Always trying to run away from God.  ;p

I digress.

While i believe that moving back to Singapore is the BEST for us at this point in time, since the Lord has paved the way to bring us back, and i can see many positives with this move, there is also the flip side. the not so good bits about being back in Singapore.

So please spare me comments like "it's good that you all came back.  good for kaira's education!"  or "why did you all move back? singapore school so stressful. better to be overseas"

all i can say is this.  the earth is round. not square.  absolutes can be obsolete.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Taiwan trip Jun 2014

About 10 (+/- i cannot really remember ; p) years ago I made my first holiday trip to taipei ... It was a short trip and did nothing to make me like the city/country... hee hee.  All I remembered wad grey skies, rain, drab looking buildings and so-so food.

So for this trip we made in June I had pretty low expectations! Which was good for the trip turned out to be pretty pleasant!

Why plan a trip to Taiwan if I don't like it?  Well I didn't actually  planned it. A friend has made plans and bookings for the trip and she asked if we wanted to join them? So I did!

Here's the itinerary for our recent trip:

day 1: arrive tao yuan airport in the afternoon and took the transport directly to hualien.  We took the van and the journey was about 4+ hours including 1 pit stop.  It was a nice drive through coastal roads... but it meant that for some parts of it kaira experienced a bit of car motion sickness.  But thank God it wax only the last bit of the drive. Pity also theat it was evening we miss some of the scenery.

Day 2, 3 & 4 - we hired a local guide to bring us around hualien.

Day 5 - took the train to Tou Cheng, spent the night at the Top Cheng leisure farm

Day 6 - took train to taipei. Arrived late afternoon

Day 7 n 8 - taipei

Day 9 - took afternoon flight home.