Category Archives: Personal

The journal continues on…

https://honeymarquise01.wordpress.com

Evidently, I had maxed out my storage space and found myself being unable to upload photos to the blog. I had a few options:

  1. Delete old photos to make space
  2. Pay $99 a year to upgrade disk space
  3. Register a new account for 3GB of free space

Option 1 sounded sad and unproductive.

For convenience, I wanted to go for option 2. However, I was only maintaining the journal for personal logging’s sake. I was not using this for commercial’s purpose and I was reluctant to pay. One year was fine, but what about subsequent years?

Hence, I decided option 3 would be the best way forward. Catch me at the new journal site where the daily rambling would continue, as well as the upcoming backdated posts on the 17N/16D Japan trip.

Tea in Pajamas

Since the start of the year, it had been hectic with settling both boys in their new schools.

Earlier in the week, I got Z to start reading this book called Tea in Pajamas. This book was written by a friend who I had actually known for many years since Livejournal days. I had always enjoyed reading her blog. It was particularly exciting when she messaged me that she had published a book and asked if we would like to receive a complimentary copy for review.

We were not professional reviewers, of course, but I was really psyched to read it. When Z knew that the book was authored by my friend, he said it was so cool. I thought so too.

Reading the book by the poolside

Synopsis of the book

Getting the kids to pose in their pajamas with Tea in Pajamas

Having Z read the book to X

When I was done with the book, I was really impressed. I felt I was transported to Belzerac with Belle Marie, the heroine of the book. The reading journey (for me) was magical, fun and filled with curiosity. Z was only through with the second chapter so he could not contribute much on his thoughts at this point. This was Enid Blyton on a higher difficulty level for him.

When I asked Rachel who should be reading this book, she mentioned it was probably for Mid-primary and onwards students. For voracious, young readers, this book would be great. It packed mystery, excitement and magic. Furthermore, as I was trying to expand Z’s vocabulary, creativity and writing, this book was all of that. I really liked how Z was learning so many, new adjectives and nouns along the way. Well, that was so ‘tiger mom’. However, if my child had to spend time to read a book, I wanted him to read good books, if you knew what I meant.

I already thought of buying another copy of this book to give to Z’s long-time friend. A quirky & meaningful birthday present would be a copy of Tea in Pajamas paired with a new set of pajamas literally.

To know about what inspired Rachel, the parallel journey between Belle Marie & Rachel, her post-publication thoughts and more, do check out her website at http://racheltey.com.

Short of sounding like a marketing pitch, do grab a copy and support local authors.

Tea in Pajamas is for sale at these retailers:

Gearing up for P1

1. Logistics – Following my posts on P1 preps, I guessed we had sorted out the necessities such as bag, books, uniforms, shoes and labelling from the very start. I had started shopping and preparing these in mid/late Oct and was sufficiently ready by mid Nov. Even if I had really missed out anything, it would be a case of ignorance, rather than a lack of consideration.

2. Academic – To me, as long as Z could read, write and talk, that was sufficient preparation for primary school. As long as he was consistent and knew that his primary role was to pay attention in school, we were really chill on that. I really wanted him to enjoy primary school for as long as he could before the grind of studying get to him.

3. EQ – Leveraging on TV programs which showcased primary school lives, real life stories of his older friends in primary school and our own experiences, we prepped Z on possible scenarios of making friends, bullying, thefts and tricky situations involving money.

Helping my son to make new friends within his class & school was probably the best gift I could prepare for his primary school. He now looked forward to seeing his new playmates at class.

Regarding money, I reiterated that he should not spend on unnecessary items such as snacks and sugary drinks which would make him fat, waste money and potentially make him fall sick. All savings would go towards his toys’ fund. He decided he would bring packet milo from home since it cost 60cents to buy from NTUC and 90cents to buy from school. In a serious manner, he asked if he had to pay the 60cents to me. My in laws suggested to him to bring sandwich to school and pocket the allowance wholly. 😂

I reminded him not to borrow money or buy stationery. I also prepped him on what happened if his friends wanted to borrow money and if he should lend money to friends who did not return money.

Alerting my son on the possibilities of meeting bullies got him to think about what to do if older kids try to take his money or beat him up. He discussed with us on what he should do and where he should run such as running to hide, or running to his friends, to the canteen vendors or the school’s office. He deduced that he ought to go to the office, inform the teacher and let his teacher inform the bully’s teacher, who might in turn inform the principal and who would make the decision if it should be reported to police. 😂

He was concerned about what if he was not able to buy food. I taught him to decide if he wanted to eat rice or noodles for the day. If he picked rice, then start thinking if he wanted Malay rice or Chicken rice. Z looked at me at said he wanted Nasi Lemak but was afraid of calling it by the wrong name. I assured him the canteen vendors would help him, so would his P5 buddy. He wondered if the canteen vendors would mistake him for a P2 and if the P5 buddy would help him till end of P1. 😂😂😂

He also asked if primary school teachers would be fierce and how he could make them like him. We had been having so many conversations on primary school since start of the year that I reckoned we had answered many of his doubts.

Conclusion of another year 

It was rather odd to be penning this down, as early as in November.

I had 54 scheduled posts as of the point of writing this. Once again, it reiterated how much I favoured early preparation which extended to a large part of my life and personal philosophy. Hence, do not be exceptionally surprised if you were still reading about our 2015 days in 2016.

Only time sensitive factors such as the turn of a year would make me insert a time sensitive post. In the past year, I had written more, I had the opportunity of capturing more family moments and we were blessed with quality family time. Since 2014, I had been in a position where I was able to enjoy work life balance, or some could say work life blend.

We had started the year by going on a Royal Caribbean Cruise to Penang in Jan, Bali in February, Japan in May, Staycation at RWS in Oct/Dec as well as Japan again in Dec. I was pleased that I got to visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route and to have brought the boys for skiing. Apart from the occasional travel, the boys were treated to frequent visits to places of interest such as SEA Aquarium, Universal Studios Singapore, Gardens By the Bay, Zoo, Bird Park, East Coast Park & more.

Z learned rollerblading this year while X took on cycling on his hand-me-down training bicycle. Z also picked up more swimming strokes and was now on the verge of conquering his butterfly strokes. X gained water confidence and was learning how to blow bubbles from Z.

Z was well acquainted with learning spelling on his own at his preschool, X was getting along well with his Bambino Luk. Z  spent the year learning to read well while X was learning to speak. From mere words, X could string a sentence together. He had an iconic and hilarious look when he went, “I think…” We could literally see the light bulb appearing next to his head.

For the later half of the year, it was very much about supporting Z for his rehearsals and preparing him for primary one. Sometimes, we were so busy with Z that we seemingly spent less time with X. X was very involved in the entire adventure of preparing his brother for primary school and even acted as his mock ‘new classmate’.

In the same breath, we spent more 1:1 time with X when we dropped Z off for his martial arts classes, art lessons and more. I guessed everything added up. The boys started to fight more these days and we were training them to negotiate and to think win-win.

With regards to marriage, Mr H & I were pretty much same old, same old. Preparing Z for P1 had been such a mega family project that we spent time working on that together, and we had so many activities that it was really unbelievable that the year had zoomed past. A life partner had to be a life’s project partner. In fact, for the later half of the year, we were working on our holiday itineraries and catching up on so many missed movies that we both enjoyed in the past.

Edited:

There was a bit of trouble towards the end of the year, which was a lesson, a really expensive lesson. We learned to be sincere but yet discerning to people around us, we learned to be careful in helping people and we learned that trusting people was an art which had to be continually reviewed. Otherwise, 2015 was mostly happy and good.

2016 promised to be bigger, better and I hoped everyone around us would enjoy health, peace and happiness. Happy New Year to my dear friends!

Leveling the playing field

There was much hooha over the RI principal who talked about elitism and the RI Old Boy who stood by elitism.

I always thought the best thing the government could do was to regulate preschool education. If I might put it, there was nothing wrong with RI being a prestigious school. However, it was not the lack of diversity that created its prestige. Brilliant students had hailed from the school, creating the level of prestige.

The true cause of diversity had started many steps ahead when there were preschools with varying school fees catering to a vast segment of families. The pricing of school fees created social classes which then led to further distinction at primary school levels, not to mention the alumni, the associations and the proximity. The diversity of primary schools was lacking too.

Back to talking about preschool education, better preschools inevitably attracted better teachers who nurtured students differently from the mainstream. They were able to inspire and motivate a love for learning, not simply just creating lots of homework for preschoolers to do. Of course, it wasn’t to say there there were no good teachers at the mainstream schools. Given the economics of demand and supply, prized talents would be drawn to better paying schools, won’t they? Unless they regard teaching as social work.

While it was great that they were creating MOE kindergarten, the progress was a slow and tedious one. The results, successful or not, would only be known at a later stage.

I wondered if I would see much improvements to this preschool system in X’s time. 

What would I say some day

Life was unpredictable. 

We wouldn’t live forever and we wouldn’t know when we would be gone. Maybe I was a naturally pessimistic person or as the dialect went, I was rather kiasi. Even when I was pregnant with Z & X, I always prepped myself with a million “what ifs”. 

When I read news of wars, bombs, terrorist attacks, missing flights and natural disasters, I always worried. I wished I could be with my family for as long as I could. 

If that day ever came, I wanted my family to know that I had led a good life because of their love. I wished I could say goodbye in person.

Memories were forged on the times we laughed our hearts out, when we explored foreign cities, when you told me how much you loved my cooking, when you tucked me into bed, when I held my babies for the first time, when the tiny ones grinned, when we held their tiny hands, when they sang, when we simply spent all the time we could together, when we loved each other and our family, when we shared the same heartbeat, when we embraced every morning together, when we grew old, when we lived our dreams, when our days were written for keepsake.

Love. Contentment.

Hugs. Happiness.

Blessed. Cherished.

We lived our days as though it was our last. We always looked forward, we chose how we spent our moments and loved the ones around us.

Aftermath of the Jubilee weekend

It was nearly a week long of celebration for us. Thinking back, every weekend was a mini celebration in our own way because we always made an effort to bring the kids to the parks, places of interest and seasonal exhibitions. We did not wait till the jubilee weekend to go to places such as Gardens By the Bay, Botanic Gardens, Sentosa Cable Car or the Zoo. They were regular features in our lives. It was a poignant reminder to appreciate the peace, the beauty and the experiences our country gave us. It was also reflective that the jubilee celebrations did not cease with the end of the jubilee weekend but we could continue to enjoy the joys of the city-state country even after the parties were over.

Having travelled with the frequently with the kids and always scheduling visits to their parks and playgrounds made me realize that Singapore boasted of equally exciting and fun areas of interest. It had struck me that we always took what we had in our “backyard” for granted. 

We had brought Z to Sea Aquariums in Bangkok & Melbourne but never brought him to the ones on Sentosa.

We had brought Z to Disneyland a few times in Paris and Hongkong, Legoland in Windsor and Johor, Thomasland in UK but only took him to Universal Studio Singapore once.

We brought Z to Hyde Park in the middle of a hectic traveling schedule but seldom visited Botanic Gardens.

Someone told me that we had world class floral display at Gardens by the Bay but we had never been there.

Since this realization hit eons ago, I grew to appreciate what we had in Singapore and we had created many beautiful memories with our children at these places. 

This jubilee was a milestone in Singapore’s history and would forever be part of our past. The jubilee celebrations had been a grand dame of celebrations. There were beautiful reminisces of the past, there were free entry to many attractions, there were many parties, carnivals and exhibitions. 

Today’s Singapore, at its 50th, was an awesome place to live in. We might be small but we had nearly everything at our fingertips. All these were made possible because of our forefathers. 

Every beautiful facade was a result of someone’s hard work. 

Looking at the outstanding jubilee celebrations, we had many unsung heroes to thank for making everything run like clockwork. These were people with family and friends who had hoped for them to spend the National Day celebrations with. Yet, they spent the 4 days working tirelessly and faced tens or hundreds of thousands of people. 

We had what we could have because some people had to sacrifice to perfect the occasion. I felt very touched by the generosity of time and effort contributed by these unsung heroes. 

We had much to appreciate around us, to thank, to feel blessed about and hoped that Singaporeans would become happier, more gracious, contented & selfless with time to come. We would not take our blessings, peace and prosperity for granted, and to continue to work hard for Singapore to become a more prosperous and harmonious country.

In 50 years’ time, I hoped our children would be able to witness and celebrate SG100. Maybe Mr H and I would live to see too.