Seoul-ful Adventure


After so many years of watching K-dramas and dreaming of going to Korea, we finally got the chance to fly in for a 4-day weekend getaway. The AirAsia Premium Flatbed was a comfort for an almost 7-hour flight. Finally, arrived @ Incheon International Airport. Well decorated, systematic and you’d be pleasantly surprised to listen to recorded home-language greeting when you presented your passport at the immigration. 


I was delighted to discover that we could choose to take a limousine bus to our hotel. I’ve always preferred moving around with public transport like the train, bus or simply walking if the distance isn’t too far. Walking around the city is the best! We’ll get to see more by walking and exploring the streets. 


The public limo bus was rather spacious and clean inside. A 50-minute ride from airport to the hotel, and they offered mags to read too! Relieved to see that there was always someone standing by to help load the bags and unload them upon arrival. It stopped right at the hotel. How convenient! 

Checking in was smooth. We were shown to a waiting lounge while waiting for our turn to check-in.

The room at the new wing was spacious. Just nice and cosy for the 3 of us. Simply lovely! The children, as always, would enjoy the bubble bath. Off to Lush for supplies!


Mainly, we explored the streets in Myeongdong, Namdaemun market and Namsan N Tower. All within walking distance. Boy, did we go crazy over the cosmetics shops! Another place to grab for foodstuffs would be the Lotte mart. Lots of snacks and everything was delicious!


The weather was so lovely. Sunny, windy and cold. Temperature was around 15degC to below 10 at night. Windy throughout the day and night. Our noses, ears and hands were freezing. Eyes and lips drying. However on the day of our departure, it showered in the early morning and then cloudy with temperature at 8degC in the afternoon.

I liked the foodcourts here. The whole exercise was : Select your food and pay at the cashier. We’re given the buzzer. Collect the food at the stall and after eating, return the food tray to the respective stall. There’s a drinking water station with sterilized cups and it’s complimentary. The floor attendants would wipe the tables ensuring everyone returned their trays and throw rubbish into the bins provided for. That’s great isn’t it? Wish it’s done the same way in my home country. 

If you can’t speak Korean, there is still chance of “survivorship” here. Mandarin is widely spoken in retail shops, restaurants and by stall operators. If you speak neither languages, like me, then there’s going to be an issue. Fortunately, I had my children with me. They became my translators (Mandarin – English) and in exchange I was their banker (LOL!). 

It was a wonderful weekend well-spent. Not long enough to explore more places in Seoul, but just nice to satisfy my curiosity. I had a fabulous experience, especially the food! Now, back home. Rain greeted us when we landed. Temperature at 20degC. Nice! Next, need to exercise to burn the excess weight….oh noooo! 

Back to work and school/classes for children. Gonna be busier than usual as I’m left with just this month to complete my cases or handover those W.I.P. ones before I leave the firm for good. 

Just before we flew back home, the children said to me, “Mom, no more weekend getaway or flying for a while, ok?”….but my traveling engine has just warmed up! Oh boy!
Cheers,

AliceN.

Retirement?


After working for 28 years, and the last 17 years growing in the financial industry, I’ve finally decided to retire from it. Those who heard about it couldn’t believe that I’m “retiring” from the works…which I’m so passionate about. My chidren till today still continue to ask if I’m really, really, really retiring (LOL!). I guess they are concerned about what I’d do with my time and myself. Never in their growing years have I stopped working. Not even during my confinement – when I worked from home/bed. 

Some colleagues who knew about my past attempts to quit from the firm thought I’d stay again when the shareholders chat with me. I was offered to freelance at the firm on specific (to my expertise) cases too. Nope, not this time. The 4th time is for good. And yes, I do agree that it is such a waste now that my knowledge and skill will not be put to good use to help clients plan for their generational wealth preservation strategies. It’ll be the consultation, advice, mediation and interaction with clients which I’m going to miss the most. 

What’s next? 

1. To complete my long outstanding thesis so that I can finally graduate with my MSc (Finance);

2. Spend more time with my family. Right, time to be more motherly and homely. Learn new recipes, learn to bake, etc;

3. Perhaps, try my hands on some e-biz or something;

4. Actively blogging;

5. PhD in Psychology? I’ve always have interest in social psychology, not the clinical kind;

6. Let Go and Let God. Can’t really plan for everything. 

No worries, guys. I won’t end up being a couch potato nor an ahjummah chasing after the next episode of Korean dramas. My back can’t take sitting on the couch for so long. More time to meet up with friends and have a cuppa or two. 

Focusing more on health too, keeping stress to the minimal. Scheduling a minor surgery for beginning of the year. Having more quality and relaxing lifestyle. I should be cutting down on a lot of “works” and just be as laid back as possible for 2017. Traveling will still remain on my list. 

So, what is retirement to you? Mine is to complete what I can’t when I’m running from one place to another when working….from gainfully employed full-time for the first 11 years of my career to working on contract for the next 17 years. Once those are completed, I’m sure I can find something, which I enjoy doing. Lecturing? Training? We’ll see how it turns out next year. 

Retirement to me doesn’t mean stop everything and sitting in front of the TV or going to spa treatment whole day long or shopping with friends. There’s more to life than just that, I’m sure. I’m still young therefore I shall make full use of my youth and time to do what I’ve always wanted to achieve, for my family and I. I used to answer people that there is no such thing as retirement because life has got so much to offer. Why must we stop moving and growing? Instead, we can choose to move and grow at our own pace and that is retirement. The brain is still active. The body is still young. The mind is matured, experienced and knowledgeable. 

So, with effect from December 2016, I’m unemployed and a “young” retiree (wink). Let’s see how I survive it (LOL!)
Cheers,

Alice N.

My PTA Experience

What is the PTA? Parent Teacher Association. What does it do? An organization of parents and teachers for promoting closer relations and improving educational facilities at the school. Bearing in mind that the PTA does not interfere in the day-to-day administration of the schools. Instead, it serves as support group and a significant partner of the school in providing a forum for discussion of issues and solutions related to the entire school programme. It also undertakes fund-raising activities to support the school’s academic and co-curricular activities.

Why be part of the PTA? Here are some of PTA’s benefits I can personally testify:

  • Leverage Volunteer Power. PTA organises hard-working, dedicated volunteers; Parents who are ready to help implement school improvement programmes. Parents who are willing to spare their time for such activities, when required.
  • See Measurable Results. More than 85 research studies conducted over the past 30 years prove that children do better in school when their parents are involved. Exam scores improve. Attendance increases. Better self-discipline.
  • Discover More Dollars. PTAs are self-funding. PTA fundraisers support school programmes, building improvements and educational events.
  • Enjoy Informed Parents. Involved parents understand the challenges school faces and become part of the solution. By developing a closer relationship with parents, student achievement improves, and the school develops a positive reputation in the community.

Now, I would like to share my personal journey towards the PTA. When my children were in primary school, as much as I wanted to, I did not take part in the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) because of language barrier. I sent them to a vernacular school so that they could master another language (i.e. Mandarin) besides English and Malay.

When my elder child entered secondary school in January 2010, I was excited and keen to contribute towards the PTA. However, as a new parent in the school, not knowing how things work, I felt that I should observe and learn first. That was when I decided to be a “shadow” PTA member. I contributed behind an active PTA committee member, working in anonymity. I allowed myself to be  a sub-committee member in a fund-raising event organised by the PTA. That was my initial involvement and small contribution towards the school PTA from the start….

I worked in anonymity for 4 years before I finally accepted the nomination to be a member of the PTA, fulfilling a promise I made to the then principal. At that time, I had completed all 10 courses of my Masters degree, dissertation pending. To this year, it has been my 3rd year as an official PTA committee member, 7th year actively participating in my children’s school. Not as much as I wanted to but I can confidently say that I have done my best for the school and students. Challenges will always be part of our lives. It is what we choose to do at time of adversity that makes the difference. I am a firm believer of teamwork. As a team, we can achieve much more when we pool our resources together.

Being a member of the PTA has its pre-requisites. Some people thought that you have to be wealthy to qualify; some felt that you must have this much of free time to dedicate yourself; etc. etc. If you think along this line of thought, I’m sorry to say that you are not entirely correct. It is a big bonus to have the money but how much can one person continue to contribute for the entire school? Most importantly is to capitalise on our  network of people and to dedicate the time to do so passionately. The more people involved, the bigger the network is going to be. I am not ashamed to ask for help in any way possible. After all, what we do is for a good cause – for our future leaders, the students.

Volunteering ourselves to serve in the PTA require us to be committed, honest, sincere and responsible. Whatever that we do, we must carry out the tasks with clear conscience. Just as mindful as we are in taking great care of our home and family, we would extend the same, if not more to our bigger “home and family” i.e. the school and students. We shall protect students’ and teachers’ welfare as well as we would do the same for our own family.

I personally believe and live by this : I shall not settle for anything lesser than my best. Be passionate in whatever that I do. Despite my heavy work and social schedule, I shall make time for it as best as I can. If I can’t give my best, I shall without second thought, step down and let another take over the seat. I will not selfishly hold on to my position for the sake of holding on. I am sure there are always others out there who can do a better job than me. This is not a glamorous job, but I shall call it “labour of love”.

Dear parents, if you are concerned about the well-being of your children in school and in their education (academic as well as co-curriculum), be active in the PTA. If you have ideas to improve the condition of the school for your beloved children, don’t be satisfied with mere exchange of criticism outside the fences of the school. Step forward to volunteer your services.

Not to worry about being a newbie. Everyone is still learning. So am I. I was “born and bred” in the corporate world throughout my working life. My way of doing things is, cut the red tapes and tackle the issue at source in the shortest time possible. Look for solutions when faced with problems. Regardless of where you come from, we will always find ways to work together harmoniously. It is made possible because we share common objectives and focus on working towards achieving that common goals.

I shall hope to see more volunteers stepping forward to serve in the PTA. The success of the school is very much depended on the PTA. When school administrators work well with the parents, together we can achieve much more and reach greater heights. After all, the ultimate purpose is to provide a more conducive learning environment for our children.

I am most grateful to be given the chance to work with so many wonderful people, teachers and parents alike, who work so hard to ensure the interests of our stakeholders are protected. It has become a lovely big family to me, so much I had seen and experienced, the ups and downs we went through together. Hats off to those who have served the school in the PTA and the ones continue to do so. Great job, everyone! Keep it up!

Cheers,

Alice N.

Friends

   

We all have friends. Young and old; friends from the school, work and social environment. Some friends, we have known since we were little. Some are rather new, met personally and through social networking.

I still remember when I was very young, aged between 7 to 12, friendship was formed instantly and naturally. Almost everyone I met was a friend. Life was simpler in the eyes of a young child, isn’t it? 

I had the same circle of friends till I was 13. The following year, I moved back to my home state. Starting afresh at a new school and town without a friend was rather scary. I was the new kid on the block with different accent (lol). Fortunately, my differences created curiosity in others and I made new friends quickly. Sadly, I lost the old ones sooner than I thought. 

You see, back in the late 70s to early 80s, we didn’t have any other way to communicate with one another except via snail mail or home telephone. Land line calls were rather costly for inter-states. Gradually, we lost touch permanently. It was like a part of my past had been erased. Wish I could re-connect with some of my old friends from the Father Barres Convent secondary school in Sungei Petani, Kedah. 

As we get older, friendship can become a little more complicated. People have the tendency to become more selfish, possessive, suspicious, envious, prejudiced and selective one way or the other.  We are divided by our thoughts and perceptions, which resulted in  building more walls than bridges. Regretfully, there are friends who build friendship based on benefits only. 

I’d rather keep to myself when things get too messy. I enjoy being alone as much as being with friends. Recent years, I’ve made some  new wonderful friends but sadly, I have also lost some used-to-be-wonderful friends. Change is inevitable. Just like a moving train, some got off halfway, some get on board along the way. Funny how some friendships created through the Internet are closer than those built from around us. From mere acquaintance, we become closer with the few whom we share common interests and meet more often. 

Everything in life requires putting in effort to make it work, including friendship. In our busy lifestyle, if we care about our friendship, we need to make time for it. Either meet to catch up sometimes or drop a line or two would be just as nice. Don’t seek out friends only when we are in trouble. We should be there rain or shine, sharing not just tears but laughter too!

One word of caution though. Be careful who you make friends with on the Internet chat rooms, Facebook, Instagram or whichever network. Being conservative is wise. Being paranoid about safety is life-saving. Let your family members know about your “internet friends”, just as you would tell them about your friends around you. For initial meetings, meet at public places during the day, in a group. It is better to have someone accompanying you for these meetings. Let your family members know who you are meeting, where and what are their contact details. 

To this date and age, I have become even more selective with friends. Yes, I agree that living in this world, we need friends besides our families. How many friends is enough? I’d rather choose true but few friends over being in a big crowd. There are times when being alone is more enjoyable and beneficial to me, especially when I require peace and quiet to get in touch with my inner self.

Everyone has faults, so do I. No one is ever a perfect person. I may be a great friend to one but a lousy friend to another. Depends on how the person perceive me as. My definition of a true friend is someone who sees beyond our faults, still try to understand us and want to spend time with us; someone who will not be swayed by how others feel about us; someone who tells the truth even if it is not so pleasant; someone who will defend us in your absence; someone who will find time to keep in touch……. A true friend is indeed a rarest gem in the world.

Some friends we keep close to our hearts, some we shall remain polite with. When we have true friends, do not take the friendship for granted. Do not allow others to destroy it so easily when it takes such a long time to build the foundation of your friendship. 

  

My Dearest Friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me the meaning of true friendship. Thank you for being there for me, sharing my frustrations and laughter. Thank you for your warm thoughts. Thank you for the lovely gifts. Most of all, thank you for asking me sometimes, “Are you alright?”. The three most beautiful words I’ve ever heard from wonderful friends, who are the rare gems. Thank you and I love you all.

Cheers,

~ Alice N.

 

Saying Farewell to 2015, Greetings to 2016!

2015 has been a year filled with long, emotional roller coaster ride for me. Lessons learnt about friendship, studies, work and other personal duties which have casted clouds of doubts to my usual confident and calm self. Too many distractions and diversions for a systematic person like me, will turn my world topsy-turvy (LOL!).

I have always treasured friendship with friends, existing and anew. I greatly appreciate sincerity and honesty in a friend, but loathe politics of all sorts. Loving to share generously what I know, since I’d been there and done that. We all know how it feels like to be ignorant and sometimes helpless or hopeless. Hopefully it will help ease the burden of another person. 

But, I have learnt the painful way that sharing has its faults. Same goes to being generous, kind, optimistic and happy. I have also learnt that if I don’t follow the lead of someone, however wrong it may seem, I’m an outcast or I’m classified as rebellious. I also saw how envy and jealousy can destroy a beautiful friendship. Exactly what we see faced by our kids do happen in adult friendship too; as childish as “camps” and “grouping” and passing snide remarks like passing flu virus. If the so-called “leader” dislikes something about you, the rest of the “clan” will boycott you or be critical of you or subtly avoiding you. 

I always thought as an adult, being wiser, we should be able to weigh our thoughts and consider our actions, independently. We know how to advise our children or others to follow their hearts and intuition, but sometimes we forgot to take our own advice. Sad…

Something new this year is that I’ve learnt from kind souls on how to cook healthier foods for my family, more about fashion, gardening and other self-enrichment skills. Thanks to them with ❤️.

Moving on to 2016, I shall choose to be more selective with people around me, words spoken and actions made. I shall give permission to myself to be selfish sometimes, to do what is right for me and my family and not pleasing others too much. 

The year 2015 has gone to waste in terms of my attempt on completing the thesis for my Masters program. Time is just isn’t enough and I humbly admit that I got distracted with other urgent matters of greater importance. Entering 2016, I have to sit myself like a good student, be more focused and force myself to complete as little or as much as possible day by day till I submit my journal to my Prof. I shall look forward to graduating in 2016. It has to happen!!!!

Work-wise, uncertainty of some sort. Regretably, once a great passion to me has now dwindled to mere interest, in the midst of negotiating my new contract with the firm. I may be very giving but business is still business. Though it is great passion to me, I should be appropriately compensated for my time and effort. For those who had worked with me in the past, they know that I set high expectation upon my deliverables. I pour my heart and soul into it. I was once advised, “If you can’t do your best, might as well don’t do it!”. I shall carry it with me till my last breath. 

In 2016, I shall only reward my loyalty in return of appreciation for my contribution. I trust that I have given my very best ever so freely all these years that my conscience is clear.

Life is short and fragile. A new year has come, giving us an opportunity to start afresh on a new page. I also feel that it is time to introduce writing resolutions to my teenage children. Some of you will think that it is a waste of time and adding unnecessary pressure. Me too but I feel that this time, it is going to be different and more fun to do it together with them. Hopefully, we could cross-motivate and monitor one another throughout the year!  I’m all excited to greet the new year…!

In 2016, I’ll resume blogging more often and journaling. I’ve stopped writing journals for quite some time but now I feel it is good to start again. You should try doing so too, if you have not already done so. It is therapeutic! Makes one wiser too.

New Year Eve dinner with my beloved family is starting soon. Let me wish you a very happy new year 2016,  may your wishes materialize, may your health be better, may your family be showered with love and happiness and finally, many 2016 be a prosperous new year, better and bigger than the last. Have a blast ushering in the new year!

Cheers!

~ 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! 
Cheers,

~ 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.

Cheers,
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!

Cheers,
~ Alice N.

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

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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.