14th Month into Glivec

Three months had passed since the last CT Scan. Recent meeting on 17th September, with the Onco was just for a chat and to get to know how dad has been doing the last three months. Glad to say that dad is doing well. Weight maintained. Blood test results look rather alright, doctor isn’t concerned about the slight difference in one or two numbers. The brittle nails have recovered except for one, the right forefinger. Dad will continue to apply homemade coconut oil onto it and other nails as maintenance. Considering dad’s improved condition, Dr Mellor says that it is not necessary for us to meet as often. The next visit shall be in four months’ time in mid January 2016.

The visit to the endocrinologist, Dr Chan was great! Blood test results are good especially his blood sugar. Perfect! His regular home-kit test results showed a couple of low readings (tested two hours after lunch). Dr Chan reduces the insulin dosage but encourages dad to do what he has been doing all along, i.e. the exercise, 7 small meals, etc. She further advises dad to stay longer during the next visit because she intends to revert dad to taking tablets. For that, she needs to monitor his progress every two days once he stops his insulin injection. This is excellent news for dad! Let us pray and hope that blood test results will show as good report so that dad can revert to tablets. No more insulin injection! I know he suffers, especially the initial several months. He had never injected himself before; was anxious and clumsy. Thank you, God for answering to his and our prayers.

Bravo to dad! He is serious about getting well and therefore, has the discipline to follow strict routine. I can always count on dad. He knows very well how I feel and he does not wish for me to be worried for him. Thank you dad, for feeling better, for being strong for yourself, mom and us.

Not forgetting, we owe it to the Max Foundation
. Without the Max Foundation, it would be much tougher for us to follow through with the treatment. We are most grateful to Dr Mellor and the Max Foundation. The Max Foundation is a global health organisation; firmly believes that all people living with cancer have the right to access the best treatment and support. Thank you!

Regardless whether you are a cancer patient or a caregiver, it is important to join a good support group. No one else can understand what you are going through as well as those who are in the same boat as you. There are many over the social media. I am a member of the GIST Support International (GSI) group in Facebook. Members are mostly GIST patients, and fellow caregivers. At GSI, everyone is supportive of one another. We share our experience and knowledge. The community also shares fears and concerns. Members are from all over the world. We are one and we are family. We continuously receive news, information as well as virtual hugs and cheers within this group. We share good and bad news freely. We send wishes and prayers throughout the globe, for those in need. Love is all around. And we hold dearly to our Purple Ribbon with much hope. Thank you, fellow Gisters! Love you all!

My dearest readers, if upon reading this, you feel deeply for the Gisters, please offer your prayers to them. 🙏🏻Thank you and God bless.
~ Alice N.

11th Month into Glivec

The time has come for Dad to go for another CT Scan. Silently, we pray for positive results. Dad has been doing well. Keeping himself healthy by exercising every morning, weather permitted and also eating well. He eats 7 small meals a day due to his insulin injection and to keep the blood sugar reading under control. One oat drink before setting out for his morning walk, a bowl of noodles after his walk and snacking on some biscuits/bread at mid morning; lunch, tea, dinner and supper. So far so good that his endocrinologist fully supports his diet.

On 22nd June, mom and I accompanied dad to the hospital. He is now familiar with the procedure that he is fully at ease with it. I’m glad. The results were out in the afternoon. We eagerly proceeded to the Oncologist’s room. We are most pleased to hear that the tumour size has reduced so do the lesions in the lungs. These are the two critical areas.

Dr Mellor informed that should we wish to consider surgery to remove the tumour, we can do so now that it has shrunk to about 2 cm. I asked if dad would still need to take his Glivec post surgery….and he said most likely because there are areas still with lesions present, especially the liver. We may have to continue with Glivec to keep the others under control. Dad declined the idea as he still needs to consume Glivec. Dad is confident that the tumour will further reduce in size with Glivec. Dr Mellor agreed with him based on his age and overall health condition. Dr Mellor is happy with the scan results. Words can’t describe my joy upon hearing the news. I thank God for His blessings and watching over my dad.

The visit to the Endocrinologist was a good one too. Dr Chan was very happy with dad’s blood sugar control. She voiced a little concern over a couple of low readings. Dad’s insulin injection in the morning shall remain but with at a reduced dosage and taking the same prescribed tablet after dinner. Blood test result was excellent.

This is another successful visit to the hospital. I feel so light and happy to know that dad’s progressing well. I can see on the faces of my parents that they are glad that their hard work paid off. I know it isn’t easy to keep our heads held high despite fears, worries and concerns in our mind. Bravo, dad and mom!

The following visit shall be in 3 months’ time, merely consultation. Dr Mellor doesn’t like to repeat CT Scan in a short span of time to avoid over-exposure to radiation. It is not good for anybody more so for a weaker body.

Dad has been on Glivec for almost a year. Looking back, this one year has been most eventful, with the first 5 months being the scariest of all. It was emotionally  draining too. I can’t imagine how mom went through it everyday as the primary caregiver. I can only imagine dad’s fear in facing such situation while trying to protect his loved ones from worrying more. I guess it took a toll on mom when mom was admitted for suspected heart attack, 3 months after dad’s diagnosis She went through tests after tests. Relieved washed over us when we were told she is OK. She was prescribed with smaller dosage of aspirin as a preventive measure. Her condition will be monitored by the local hospital.

I feel that having a family member contracting cancer is the last thing one would expect to happen. It is the worst news for anyone. The first few things that cross people’s minds would be the pain, course of treatments and financials. Thinking back, while I was sad upon hearing the diagnosis from the Dr, I had to keep a brave front for my parents and brothers. Armed with positive mindset I tried to instil the same optimism to both of them especially mom, who is a worrywart. I preached about team work, emphasising that it is treatable, there is always hope. The battle is dad’s but we must stand by him to cheer him on. Mom has to watch over his food too. I read up books on cancer survivors and about GISTs. I opened a medical file and add a health journal on this blog.

Created support group within the family, I roped in my younger brother to spend more time with them and to watch for any sign of small ailments, whatsoever. I am most grateful to him and my sis-in-law for being around my parents. Thanks to the twins (brothers) who will speak to them from afar once in a while. With most children living separately and distant away, it is important to keep in touch to let them know they’re thought of and also to let them listen to our voices. My parents are most understanding when we can’t meet as often as we wanted to.

I can say now that we had gone through the worst together. Nonetheless, we still need to continue doing the right thing…i.e. daily exercise, eating well, positive thinking and enjoy life. Life is short. Let us live our daily lives the way it should be..happy, contented and meaningful.

Thank you my friends, for your prayers and wishes for my dad.


Alice N.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

  To all mothers in the world, Happy Mother’s Day to you. Specially dedicated to my Mom, Godmom, sisters-in-law, relatives and friends. 

  This was sent by my son first thing in the morning on my Facebook timeline, knowing I love fast cars but with quiet engines. Don’t think I fancy  “announcing” my arrivals as I prefer to arrive quietly…he knows me so well! Love you, son. Also to my sweet daughter for her heart-warming Mother’s Day message. Not forgetting my darling hubby for being supportive of my causes and much more. That means a lot to me. We make one great team! I feel so blessed…

I didn’t know anything about being mothers before I became one. As teenagers, almost all of us found our moms to be naggy, the one who always stood in between us and what we wanted. Their favorite word, (amazing how all mothers were alike in this) was “NO!”. Most of the time our favourite things got confiscated. We believed that moms have another pair of eyes behind their heads; and that they put us under secret surveillance because they knew things even though they weren’t there! These are from a teenager’s point of view, at least in my mind when I was a teenager.

When I first became a mom, with the arrival of my firstborn some 17.5 years ago, I learned what it actually meant to carry the title “MOM”. Boy, if you take it lightly, you’re going to feel the weight of unspoken fear and self-doubts when something knocks you off your feet and fall into a bottomless pit. You’ll know what “Helpless” and “Hopeless” really really mean. If you think life is tough, try being a MOM. I guess MOMs are the ones who say prayers the most, not for themselves but for the well-being of their children, especially.  How true the statement goes. I didn’t know what I could do and how much I had to deal with until I stepped into the shoes of being a mother. No parenting or motherhood books could prepare you for the role. There is not one operation manual or standard operating procedure (SOP) guide book or advice from good meaning fellow mothers that could make you fully prepared to face the days of motherhood. It is a hands-on experienced only.

There may be some similarities but each baby or child is unique in his/her own way. Having my two beautiful children testified and endorsed that. Both children have some similar habits and behavior but that do not mean one method works for both. There are many trials and errors…after almost 18 years, I am still on this learning journey. It’s a long haul, lifelong commitment. There is no particular way and certainly not enough time to perfect being a mother because the landscape keeps changing as the children grow older. 

I thought as they grow, I would become closer to being an expert in motherhood but was I wrong! I’m still learning like an intern in each phase of motherhood. Now both are at teen age. I found that boy teenager and girl teenager are different in many ways. Cross referencing doesn’t quite work. It is like a totally new chapter altogether, not even a sub-topic! Life is filled with surprises, isn’t it? I guess that is the secret of looking younger than your age (LOL!)

Having said that, amidst the challenges, I am also blessed to go through life seeing my babies grow up. They have enriched my life, makes me grow as well. Besides being responsible for myself and my wonderful husband, I have to be mindful too for the sake of my children. How I act, speak and do things will reflect on them. Children see and model us one way or another, if not now, later in age. Don’t forget that. 

So, parents… don’t use this line, “you can’t/don’t do it” when you yourselves are doing it. If you feel you can do it due to whatever valid reasons, please explain to make them understand why they can’t. Failing to do so will make them confused, which turns it into curiosity to try it out. Then, they might do it behind your back. We have to practise some degree of transparency and democracy with children of today. They are getting smarter and they understand better than we did when we were their age. Educate them properly. Expose them to some freedom while they are still under our wings so to give us chance to guide them when the need arises. Be not afraid to explore new territories with your children or to speak to them at the same level as you. In turn, you’ll discover that they will respect you more.  We must recognize that we all learn through mistakes and lessons and so do they.

I can’t help but to feel proud of myself that I have come this far whenever I look into the faces of my children. I continuously share our family values with them and hope that they will live through it and then, spread it to their own families and so forth. 

Finally, Mothers, go out and celebrate being a MOM and enjoy motherhood, lock stock and barrel (LOL!). Happy Mother’s Day to all! 

~ Alice N.

9 Months into Glivec/ Gleevec

It was mid April that Dad was due to his visit to his Oncologist and Endocrinologist. He looks well and we’re glad that know that he has put on some weight. He lost quite a lot of weight last July. Good to note that he is gradually getting back to his usual weight. His appetite is good too! He is eating 7 meals a day. These are small meals and proved to be good for his blood sugar.

At this visit, his Oncologist told us that he hardly felt the tumor. That’s a good sign but he should be due for the next CT scan (6 months apart) in June. He will still continue with Glivec as it is doing its job well so far. New side effect noticed was the sign of brittle nails. They look like old, dried and peeling nails. No pain or any discomfort felt, just the look of the nails. His doctor took a few photos of the brittle nails to report back to the manufacturer, I guess. We couldn’t find any recorded side effect that’s pointing to nail issues. I was thinking could be happening to Dad as an isolated case or Asians perhaps, due to our livelihood and diet?

I also notice a slight dark line on his lower lid but the doctor said that has nothing to do with the drug but more like dark circles. I shall take a note on that and observe it for a longer period of time. His previous water retention on the left ankle and eyes have subsided.

Thereafter, we went over to see his endocrinologist. Dad’s doctor was so pleased with his records and was amazed by his discipline in caring for his health by diligently exercising on daily basis, watching his intake of food and also checking his blood sugar and recording them without fail. By monitoring closely, he gets to understand how certain foods will affect his blood sugar and he will take steps to control himself. On that, I must salute my Dad. He is his own doctor as he wants to be well. That relieves me from worries. I am so proud of him.

My gratitude extends to his jovial and friendly Oncologist, Dr Mellor and wonderful Endocrinologist, Dr Chan for their attention and encouragement. Also to Max Foundation and Novartis for the patient assist program. Support from these people help a lot and let us deal with GIST more positively and giving us hope. We are tracking his progress from each visit to the doctors and so far, Thank God, my dad has been doing well. We shall keep monitoring and praying for his well-being.


~ Alice N.

6 months into Glivec/Gleevec


I just realised my mistake on Dad’s GIST journal. The title “1st Month on Glivec” is actually referring to 1st follow-up with his Onco after 2 months being on Glivec. Followed by another 2 months, 2nd follow-up and the 3rd in January, which was after 6 months of consuming Glivec.

In the morning before meeting with his Oncologist in January 2015, Dad underwent CT Scan again. We were familiar with the Procedures by then. After the scan, while waiting for the results, we went out for a hearty lunch. Need to be optimistic and the first thing that came to mind was to feed hungry stomachs with tasty hot food.

When we finally met his onco with the radiologists’ reports, we were delighted to learn that the lesions in the liver had decreased further and the size of the tumour in the stomach had also shrunk. However, the signs on the bones remained unchanged, which we have to monitor. All in all, signs had shown positive improvements and that meant Dad responded well to Glivec. Pray for steady route to recovery.

The following day, when we saw his endocrinologist, he was given a thumb-up by the wonderful Dr. Dad then took the opportunity from his good results to appeal for change in prescription to oral medication instead of insulin injections. His Onco had no objections when we spoke to him about it the day before. After much persuasion, she reluctantly compromise with Dad. He still has to take his insulin in the morning but for evening dose, he can replace insulin with oral medication. Dad was to record his blood sugar as requested to see how he responds to the new prescription. Dad has to provide his readings for 7 days. I was so pleased to see how happy Dad was for the little relief from the needle of insulin. That gives him hope that he could perhaps turn this insulin-dependent situation around. He becomes even more optimistic than before! Thank you, Dr Chan and Dr Mellor (the latter for taking time to discuss with the former). Thank God for such caring and dedicated doctors. Thanks to Max Foundation too for the Glivec sponsorship program. We shall be forever grateful! Thanks to the Universe for listening to us, lightening our burden and giving us hope!

I must give the highest credit to Dad. A strong man who is not afraid or even feeling too proud to listen to and take the advice of others (his oncologist, endocrinologist and I). He is determined to get well and therefore is disciplined in his morning exercise and religiously taking his medication. The dad whom I’ve known and love for decades, has always been optimistic and jovial, regardless of the situation he is in. Today, I’m glad to say that he is as optimistic and fun-loving as before, or maybe more. He is a survivor! I’m proud of my dad.

Also, credits go to Mom for endlessly reading articles on cancer and health issues. After surviving a heart attack and went through multiple tests, Mom is now on medication and follow-ups with her cardiologist. Knowing her health risks, she further strengthened her spirit and move forward as positively as possible. Now, both parents are primary care-givers to each other, more like reminders to each other to be well.

I’ve decided to give them breathing space by not monitoring them too closely. I realised my good intention might have added pressure and stress to them to want to feel better, faster. I then return to my old way of weekly chats instead of daily. I was too anxious and worried for them that I made them most uncomfortable and unhappy. Mom was especially worried about me for being worried for them! I learnt from my mistake by letting them be. Instead of mothering them, I revert to my role of being a daughter to them. I let go and move along at their pace.

That brings to me think that as children, there are times when we want to control our parents to do things our way but that is not right. We should sit down and talk it over with them. Let them know our concern as children and listen to their concerns as well. We should then be able to come to a mutual understanding on how to handle challenging situations together as a team. It is indeed pointless for anyone to get agitated and make everyone frustrated. This will only escalate unhappiness and worsen the situation or health condition. Not helpful at all. We have to control ourselves and take it in our strides to think positively and pro-actively. Let’s not react without thinking deeply, especially on such delicate issues, when handling sickness in the family. I know it is tough but for everyone’s sake, especially the unhealthy one, we have to be empathetic, compassionate and have great patience. I believed that when we are optimistic, it can be contagious. Instead of frowning, we should be smiling and enjoy the company of our loved ones.

I shall continue to pray for strength, patience, wisdom and good news for my family!

~ Alice N.

Farewell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew


The world has lost a great man, Singapore’s Founding Father. Without Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), Singapore will not be what it is today. Thank you and farewell, Sir!  

Even the sky shed tears at the last sent-off. I’m so touched to watch so many citizens braved the rain to stand along the roads to bid the great man final good byes. Seeing so many people, young and old, unabashedly wiped their tears as the hearse passed by. I can’t help but to have tears streaming down my face as well. Feeling so sad for his family and Singapore for losing a father.

To me , he is a wise, visionary man. He turned the small island into a developed country, with least resources. Singapore is now  respected and envied by people around the world, especially its closest neighbours! A man with great vision, determination and passion running in his blood all these years. 

Though I am not a Singaporean, I saw, heard and read enough to appreciate LKY’s fruits of labour; his sweat, tears and blood flowed into the land, water and air of Singapore. I salute you, LKY.

I liken Singapore as a second home deep in my heart. This is one place which I feel safe to walk the streets alone at night; feeling safe enough to let my children go around unaccompanied, on public transport; feel comfortable eating hawker foods at every corner of Singapore! I like how Singaporeans queue up for everything and reserve a seat/table with a pack of facial tissue. People can leave their bags on the chair and walk away for a short while. They have mutual respect and understanding amongst themselves. I give them a thumb-up for being civilized. 

It is a fine city which I love. Why not to love? If you break the regulations or law, you face the consequences. Fair and square! This is law and order, vital ingredients to run a country efficiently. I’m all for it. The city is like a garden in the city or is it city in a garden? Full of trees and parks. Trees are as valuable as a human life. The parks are well maintained at every HDB residential and each township is complete with community and sports centre, eateries and convenience stores. I can freely walk along Singaporean streets and move around using their efficient public transports. Thanks to the founding father. 

A man, no matter how wise or great, could not escape from making some mistakes in life. The most important part of making mistake is what has one learnt from the mistake. We can choose either to see the big picture to progress or we magnify the minor issue and sit on it. A choice not easily made especially for a country and its citizens. 

Mr LKY, when we knew that you were in critical condition, we prayed to have you with us much longer but at a corner of our hearts, we did not want you to suffer anymore. We then pray for you to go peacefully to a better place, hopefully to reunite with Mrs Lee again. 

To our Hero…our Mentor…our Founding Father…Our Leader…final salute to you, Sir. We shall continue to pray and send well wishes across the causeway to your family and beloved country. Your duty for Singaporeans has now completed and it is time for others to follow your foot steps and dreams. Now is the time for them to stand on their own and make the most of what they have learnt from you. 

Thank you, LKY for your sacrifice and wisdom. May you rest in peace….

To PM LHL and family, our deepest condolences to you. 

~ Alice N.

20 Years Together 

What can I say except, time really flies! It is amazing how two people with different personalities, habits and interests can stay together for that long. Oh yes…it still amazes me when I stop to think about it. 

Thank God we have survived every up and down, sharing laughter and tears, talk about  ideas and dreams, discuss matters related to children and like any other couple, we argued, we got angry with each other, felt frustrated and hopeless sometimes. We have survived all that so far, and shall continue to work on it for years to come.

Darling, Happy Platinum Anniversary! A wonderful man who has put up with me in many ways for 20 years. Together, we have built our own small family based on our values and belief. Together, we weather the storms of life, we continue learning, adapting, improving and look forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour. When we fight, we keep reminding each other to fight for the marriage instead of personal victory. 

Marriage is like a beautiful china. It is so lovely to look at and smooth to touch. We adore its beauty. However, it is fragile and needs to be handled with great care to maintain that beauty and condition. When it is roughly handled, it may chip or even break, depending on the impact. Otherwise, it is long-lasting.  

For people who have not come this far yet, they are simply amazed by the period of 2 decades. However for people who have gone through more, I’m sure they have lots to say or advice for me. I believe, it is going to be more fun accompanied by more learning curves to experience as we move along.  

Looking back, as a single person, I did everything to my fancy. I did not have to think too deeply how each decision I made or action I took would directly or indirectly affect the next person. I am me, period.

When we got married, we were like two limbs attached to a body, and still are. What one does or say will have some kind of effect on the next person. Therefore, we become more mindful with words used and our choice of action. 

With the addition of children, looking back at “mere couple” days, they seemed uncomplicated and easy. It was another course of adaptation. With this new landscape, more adjustments were made to accommodate the little human in the family. As one child grew another joined the clan. Another course of adjustment was called for. I can testify that since then, our communication, decision-making, human relations, public relations and negotiation skills have since improved drastically. 

I know that I have made many mistakes along the way, by taking things and simple gestures for granted, jumped to my own conclusions and not “looking” from my heart” the things my husband did for me, to please me. I was too quick to pass judgement. There were times when I didn’t give him a chance to a “fair trial”. Oh well…I have learnt and shall continue to be more forgiving and understanding. I asked for validation and acknowledgment…I shall also give the same in return. Regardless of being a man or woman, we are humans after all, seeking emotional satisfaction and stability. I must look at myself in the mirror more often, not to check my make-up of course, but to look within myself for check and balance. Yes, that I shall do.

Fast forward years ahead, as children grow older, maybe leaving our nest and starting their own  families, I am sure we will soon find ourselves back to being a couple again. In golden years, we may see things through different lenses, not indicating reading glasses, mind you. I am sure by then, our livelihood will be different from how it is now. More time in our hands to use as we please. 

I shall look forward to sharing these years ahead with darling hubby. It envisage it to be like unwrapping the present, layer by layer to reach the special something inside the box. There will be new territories to be explored and discovered together. We shall cherish what we have go through thus far, and look forward to the journey ahead. 

A toast to my wonderful husband : May we share many more exciting years together, till death do us part. I love you, darling for always being there for me; for the little gestures you make; for the love you showered upon me continuously; for accommodating me in many ways; for your quiet understanding of everything. Thank you for the love and attention through the years, darling.

Alice N.

Happy Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day celebrating the wonders of women around the world. To all mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, Happy Women’s Day!

Some people jokingly described a husband as the head of family and wife as the neck of the family, which can turn the head anywhere. Oh well…whatever it is, don’t take them personally. Laugh them off.

Someone sent this image to a group of us with one person light-heartedly commenting that they must read the book to learn about “women management”! I wonder how one can manage women or men. It is not like financial management or time management. So, my response to that was “I’ve not met anyone who can understand a woman as well as second skin. Best would be to appreciate them, acknowledge them and validate their feelings. Very simple actions which do not require lots of heavy reading. Same applies to men and children. We don’t “manage” them.

Another friend sent this, “A teacher wrote this on the blackboard and asked the students to add the punctuation – [Woman without her man is nothing]. A boy added (Woman, without her man, is nothing.); whilst a girl wrote (Woman! Without her, man is nothing.). Amazing that a few punctuation marks can give different meanings to the same sentence. My take on this is no one is more superior than the other. A man and woman have their own roles to play in the family. We are interdependent, if you like. We need each other to make a more beautiful and fulfilled life for ourselves and our loved ones. Let us not try so hard to prove between husband and wife, who is more important or superior. We will end up hurting each other more. While we happily celebrate our Women’s Day, let us also acknowledge our father, brother, husband and son’s influence to our lives, in one way or another.  

A confident man sent this message to a group chat and received a round of applause :

Woman : changes her surname, changes her home, leaves her family, moves in with you, builds home with you, gets pregnant for you, pregnancy changes her body, she gets fat, almost gives up in the labour room due to the unbearable pain of child-birth, even the kids she delivers bear your surname. Till the day she dies, everything she does…cooking, cleaning your house, taking care of your parents, bringing up your children, earning, advising you, ensuring you can be relaxed, maintaining all family relations, everything that benefit you….sometimes at the cost of her own health, hobbies and beauty. So who is really doing whom a favour? Dear men, appreciate the women in your lives always, because it isn’t easy being a woman. Being a woman is priceless!

I just want to say that women are not that complicated or weird as much as one wants to believe. They are no trouble-makers. They don’t have time to pamper themselves how else are they going to find time to create troubles. They know their roles very well. They always stand by their men through thick and thin, without much complaint or none at all, strongly believing in their shared dreams. They work tirelessly to provide a warm and loving home for their families.

Women, give yourselves permission to celebrate your day. Also, feel free to take everyday as a celebration of life, whatever you want to call it. Give yourselves a pat on the back and remember to take time off to pamper yourselves. Have your own circle of girlfriends who would be there for you to share your happiness and as well as concern. Start having a hobby or two to occupy your time more productively. If you have been thinking for so long to take up a degree, learn a musical instrument, master another language, attending cooking or self-improvement classes, do it! When you do something more meaningful for yourselves, you’ll appreciate yourselves more. Not only that, your family members will too!

Celebrate that you are a Woman! It is great pleasure and an honour to be a woman and carrying out your roles as one. Notice that many hearts and lives you have touched as you grow and live your lives. Live it to the fullest. Enjoy each and every moment of it. Make happy memories and learn from the good and bad experiences. Take great care of your health and total well-being. Be proud and always take extra effort to look, smell and feel good about yourself!

~ Alice N.

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Kong Hei Fatt Choy! Keong Hee Huat Chai!

Here’s wishing everyone around the world Happy Chinese New Year! May the new year bring you continuous better health, prosperity and joy!

Yesterday, every family sat around the table to have Reunion Dinner with loved ones. Today, families and friends visit one another exchanging red money packets accompanied by good wishes.

Those who have slaved themselves in the kitchen throughout these couple of days will try to find time to relax whenever they could, in between meals. For those who have it better, just party on. This is the time of the year when some family members will gather around to play a few card games for the fun of it and sharing laughter.

I am not a traditional person therefore I do not observe the traditional customs. When I do so, it is due to respect for the older generation. I can’t even explain the significance of Chinese New Year (CNY), except it is the new lunar year. I may be wrong…as for taboos, unless it satisfies my logical thinking mind, I shall accept the practice. Failing which, I shall not follow blindly nor would I preach them to my children.

I am sure there are many who will condemn my ignorance but I am contented with just my way of doing things. To me, everyday is a good day, a Birthday, a Mother’s or Father’s Day, a new year day, etc. I believe in living in the present and celebrate life’s little event and achievement on daily basis. For any disappointment, challenge or failure, it is only temporary. We learn from lousy decision or action so that we can do better for the following day.

I preach to my children about simplicity of life and being honest to themselves and those around them. We do things because we want to and happy doing them rather than being forced to and feeling negative about them. Barring the circumstances when we have do to so due to respect to the host or our elderly relatives. Let our conscience guide us.

So, this new year, the same as every year, wishing everyone the very best of new year, new chapter in life and new resolution! Most importantly, may you enjoy continuous good health, prosperity and joy throughout the year of sheep.

Cheers to all and “Yum Seng”!!!

~ Alice N.

2014 Ending

Is it the time or is it just me….that feels like 2014 passes with high-speed! It is an eventful year for me.

Where my parents are concerned, dad has been diagnosed since early July with a type of cancer called GISTs. Treatable with targeted treatment drug. Thank God he responds well to Glivec and much thanks to Max Foundation for their kind support. Towards end of the year, we found out that Dad’s right ear experiences poorer hearing ability. Mom on the other hand, was admitted for heart issue in October and is now under medication. It has finally dawned on us that our parents are getting older and health has gradually deteriorated. Fortunately, my parents live in a beautiful and quiet town with breathtaking lake gardens where they can go to every morning for their exercises. Air is fresh and surrounded by greenery. I wish for my parents to have healthy and happy golden years to come.

In the heart of my home, my children had completed their major examinations. With the new year, we’ll see one entering the secondary school while the other entering university and due to start taking his driving lessons. Soon, he will be driving himself and us around. Can’t wait. I am glad that darling husband makes time for little family holidays amidst his busy schedule. Nothing beats making wonderful memories with family, isn’t it? It reminds me of my childhood where we had great family activities which we cherished to this day. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it is time spent away from work, colleagues and friends to focus more on our loved ones. I call it touching base with the centre of our souls.

Our children are growing and soon one by one will be leaving home to further their studies and thereafter creating their own life paths. If we don’t spend time with them now, we may lose the chance to create wonderful memories with them. There is no way we can turn back the clock when we finally can spare that free time. By then, they might have their own plans and most often the not, these plans don’t include parents, sorry! To me, there is not enough free time in this rat race life. There is always another task that needs our immediate attention when there is a time slot, isn’t it? However, if we care enough, we know that we have to create that time for our beloved family….before it is way too late!

So, what have you accomplished for the last 12 months of year 2014? Small accomplishments do count. It is the cumulative small contributions and actions that make the big difference in our lives, besides the big ones. Remember, to change anything, it starts small. If we were to wait for the big action or big change, it may not come at all or slightly better, it’ll take a much longer time to present itself to us.

Whether we have done enough, or not for 2014, I am sure you have done your very best. Continue to work on your new resolution(s), correct what have gone wrong in the new year, and most importantly, keep moving forward. You’ll be fine. Don’t sweat the small stuffs.

I apologise for not writing as much as I like to. Too many things happened in this year, bittersweet ones. I have to live with them, past them and move along. There were times when I just wanted to rest my achy body and tired mind, to just lay down to sleep and not waking up; there were times when I felt the sense of hopelessness, anxiety, anger, frustration, disappointment and loss of direction; adversely, I also felt the joy of giving and sharing what I have and achieving small accomplishments; there were times when I felt so happy that my heart felt like bursting to million stars. During this time, we make new friends, experience new discoveries, attaining a higher level of knowledge and realizing our threshold of pain and endurance! Oh well….this is what life is all about.

Please allow me to mention and pay tribute to loss of lives in flights MH370, MH17 and QZ8501. My deepest condolences to their families. May the families find peace within, may there be “angels” to watch over them as they grieve for their loss of loved ones. Lives will never be the same again but I still pray that they will find the strength to carry on. I feel for the families of pilots and crew members. I can imagine their anxiety whenever their family members have to leave for duty. Let us appreciate the services extended by these lovely people.

Lastly, I must thank you all for reading my blog posts and your comments. Pleasure has been mine to share what I go through in life and what knowledge I have. Hopefully, it helps, one way or another, for those who share similar experience, to know that you are never alone in this big big world.

Farewell to 2014 and let’s toasty to a better and greater new year. Take care!

~ Alice N.