Living life, better.

In the blink of an eye, we’ve now come to yet another new year. Welcome to 2013, ladies and gentlemen, the year I’m going to turn 30.

Do I feel like I’m 30? No, not really.

But how exactly is being 30 suppose to feel like? I imagine it’s feeling all grown up, always knowing what to do in all situations, always feeling tired since folks at 30 supposedly don’t have stamina like younger people, especially when it comes to nights out.


Nah, not really.

But now, I find myself wanting to do all sorts of ridiculous things that I had never done, not even when I was a teenager.

I was always the sensible teenager – the one with a good head on her shoulders, they said. In my younger days, I’ve skipped over several phases of life such as idol-chasing, skipping school…can’t think of anymore now.

However, I now find myself indulging in a youth fallacy.

Not too long ago, someone introduced me to a Korean variety show, Running Man (RM). Initially, the overall concept of the show sounded really lame (adults tearing off each others’ name tags). But, after I’ve watched a couple of episodes, I was hooked.

The overall concept described above was still correct, however, what made the show thoroughly entertaining was the RM cast. Their live commentary, their banter on show proved more than sufficient to overcome the language barrier, enticing me to become a fan.

It was through this variety show that I came to know Kim Jong Kook. Great singer, good entertainer and, based on the RM show, he seems to be someone with wits and good values. Doesn’t hurt that he looks cute and (ahem) strong too.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so taken with someone and his works.

This interest has also motivated me to want to pick up a new language skill (Hangul) to better understand the overall K-culture, conversations and also, to better appreciate his works. In my recent trip to Korea, I’ve also purposefully went out in search of his albums.

The above, to you, may not seem like anything wild.

But to me, it’s the most I’ve done that’s closest to idol-chasing.

Some say it’s an attempt to cling on to younger years. Others say it’s a reaction to some recent major changes in my life.

I say that it’s just me throwing off some of the stringent controls I’ve placed on myself for so many years to indulge and live a little….within reasonable limits.

This year, I’m not sure if I want to set resolutions. Maybe just one.

I want to live my life, better.


Proud of Your Decisions?

We make decisions everyday.

Sometimes, we find ourselves at a cross-road in this process, especially when the decision is a particularly hard one – do we do what we think is right (according to our personal values/logic)? But what if that option’s fraught with challenges and hence, so much more difficult to execute? Or do we do what’s the easiest or most efficient (which may not be necessarily wrong – depending on perspective)? Or do we do what will benefit us the most?

Very often, there’s no clear-cut, ten-year-series answers to such difficult questions and it’s really more of a judgment call. How then do you make the decision?

I came across this two-part YouTube video about a boy, Ben Breedlove, who died on Christmas Day after fighting a serious heart condition for most of his life. Shortly before his death, he posted a two-part video on YouTube, in which he silently describes his life and several near-death experiences through cue cards.

After watching the video, one thing stayed with me. When he was near the verge of death, he thought about the way he led his life and he was proud of how he did it.

Sometimes, some of us tend to over-analyse our problems, but ultimately, perhaps the litmus test should be… would this be a decision that we would be proud of when we look back five, ten or even twenty years down the road.

I thought this video was worth sharing and I hope you’ll gain some perspective from it as well.

Easy Money

easy money

easy money

Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, and Chance Agrella

Flipping through the papers, it’s common to see ads offering low interest loans which promise that borrowers will get the cash in hand easily and quickly. It seems like all interested parties need to do, according to the copy in the ad, is to call the number stated.

Not just that, I realised that I’ve been getting telemarketing calls from banks quite frequently. Instead of pushing yet-another-damn-awesome-credit-card-with-unbelievable benefits, their focus seemed to have diverted to promoting easy money loans at “extremely favourable interest rates”. Even when turned down, they continue to persist and suggest that their audience can take up this “irresistible offer” to repay some other loans that he/she may be currently servicing.

Honestly, I’m quite appalled at this. For the wiser crowd, this may just prove to be merely abit of a nuisance to have to constantly refuse and turn down these “great deals”.

But what kind of message are we sending to the younger, more impressionable people?

That money’s easy to come by?

That it’s acceptable to enjoy and spend frivolously now by using borrowed money?

That all they need to do is to just dial that number in the ad and, viola, cash in hand!

This is a worrying trend.

Already more kids are now growing up in increasingly privileged environments, even becoming dubbed as the strawberry generation. Would they be able to withstand the pressure and stress, should we face turbulent economic times?

I’m not all that old, and sometimes, I do question myself – for me and my generation, are we really much better as compared to this “strawberry generation”? It’s really time to do a little soul-searching and reflection.

Going back to the easy money topic, it would be easy to try and address this problem by culling such open money loan ads or cold calls. This, however, would be a really superficial solution. Getting to the root of the problem, it may just be worthwhile to try to educate kids about the value of money right from the start – maybe in school or at home, and impart relevant knowledge and skills in helping them learn to manage their money wisely. Sometimes, I really wished that we had that incorporated into our education early on. It’s an essential skill, ain’t it?


Spontaneous writing.

Spontaneous writing

Have been putting off writing this post for the longest time, because I was too busy trying to think about how I should format my 2011 resolutions as opposed to actually penning them down.

The same could be said for many of my other posts (that I’ve constructed in my head, but never materialized) because of the ‘logistical’ challenges such picture editing etc. Too often I’ve created a picture of how it should be like in my head, so much so that if I’m not able to replicate that here, I rather not do it at all. That is one of the many reasons for the prevalent silence in this space.

Looking back in 2010, I’ve created a measly eight posts here.


And that’s really depressing because it makes me feel like my life in 2010 has just slipped by into…emptiness. Although I know that’s not the case, because if I really took the time to reflect, I’ll recollect events which have brought much joy, laughter, fun and love. I’m just annoyed that I didn’t write them down somewhere – What if these memories start to fade away? What if I forgot the feelings associated with those times?

So this year, I shall strive to be more spontaneous in my writing.

Write when I feel like it, and no, the post doesn’t have to be picture perfect with that picture in a precise 0.2cm white and black border with a watermark that’s placed suitably 0.5cm away from the borders.

Here goes the first of 2011 resolutions.

Resolutions 2010

Photo Creds: Francesco Marino /

It’s here. Twenty-ten.

Unlike some, I remain a believer of setting new year resolutions as they make me think through some of the short-term goals that I want to work towards in the brand new year.

So, for 2010, here are my resolutions:

  1. Do something new at least once every month – I’m a creature of habit, so much so that my colleagues/lunch kakis can even place orders for me at one of our favorite restaurants. In 2010, I think it would be good to make a conscientious effort to try something new on a regular basis – this can include trying out a new dish, a new recipe, exploring a new place or activity, meeting new friends…anything! As long as it’s new!
  2. Start learning about my personal finances – Current, I know shite about my personal finances. Zilch, nada, zero! This can’t do as all respectable adults (*ahem* me) should at least be a little aware and understand some basic personal financial knowledge right? Well, I hope it’s not too late to start learning the basics now. Tips, anyone?
  3. Read more and regularly – As a kid, I used to be an extremely avid reader. Two novels in a day? No problem. Granted that being a full-time, working adult in this crazy industry doesn’t leave me much free/personal time, especially during weekdays, I think I should make a bigger effort to find time to read more. Yes, I do miss reading.
  4. Write more – When I was crafting my previous post, I had a hard time trying to remember what transpired in the past year. Having regular blog entries used to help jog my memory, but since I’ve not written much last year, I had more difficulties pulling all the highlights together. And more importantly, writing has always provided me with much joy and encourages me to reflect about what’s happening.
  5. Start paying attention to some of those health issues, please! – For myself, and my parents.
  6. (continued from No. 5) Run a 10K marathon in 2010 – I know 10K is really no big feat for many of you, but this is the first time I’m planning to do this, so it would be milestone, albeit a small one. Am hoping to have enough discipline and determination to see this through!
  7. Career advancement – Enough said.
  8. Nurture relationships with loved ones – Family, partner and friends. I need to constantly remind myself that life’s more than work, and it’s important to make time and effort to be with people that I treasure in my life.
  9. Travel to new destinations, explore new sights
  10. Self-discovery, more – In your teens/early20s, other people defined what you want to be. In the latter half of 20s/or early 30s (for some), you start to discover who YOU are, or want to be.

10 resolutions for 2010.

Let’s aim to live a fuller life for yourself, and your loved ones.

farewell 2009

Photo Creds: Howden /

A grand total of 9 posts – that’s the final count of blog entries I did in 2009.

So, the verdict is out. I’m guilty of having neglected this space for the past one year.

As 2009 comes to a close, I feel that it’s paramount to recap what I’ve done in 2009, review how these have measured up against my resolutions for the year, and of course, set new goals and objectives for 2010 moving forward.

Refreshing my memory, here are the 2009 resolutions in short (details from here) and the corresponding updates:

  1. Cut down on harmful habits (i.e. smoking)Quit smoking, and haven’t gone back to it since November 2007! Check
  2. Explore activities that I’ve always wanted to tryPreviously, I mentioned that I have embarked on a new hobby and that was baking. I’m happy to say that I’ve tried my hand at making different pastries and desserts, and most have turned out pretty well. And no, I didn’t burn down the kitchen, not even close. Yay! Check
  3. Nurture my relationship with my loved one to the next stageIt’s been pretty good this year, so… Check
  4. Make further progress on my career I’m not too happy with whatever “progress” I’ve made by my standards, so I’m going to consider this NOT done.
  5. Adopt a more Zen mindset to handle whatever challenges life throws in my path, be it personal or work-related mattersSubjective, but I think I’m doing better at this, so Check

Alright, 4/5! That’s not too bad.

Other highlights in 2009 include…

  1. First visit to Cambodia, Siem Reap – This was a country that didn’t used to feature high in my “must-visit” list, but I am now in awe of the majestic Angkor Wat. An added bonus point: Beer’s cheaper than water there too! Really!
  2. First visit to Australia, Sydney – This was a solo work-trip, and also my virgin experience to the land down under. I wouldn’t call it enjoyable, but it was a self-discovery journey of sorts. I’m thankful for the experience, and also, to get to know my Ozzie colleagues better.
  3. Pink Dot 2009 – Participated in a social-cause event promoting freedom to love without discrimination. A worthwhile cause! I hope the event happens again, people here need to be constantly reminded to judge less and respect more.
  4. Geek-ing away – With prolong exposure substances termed “technology”, “social media platforms” and “gadgets”, I find myself increasingly attracted to these addictive elements. A most unexpected turn of events.
  5. Exploring new interests and activities – Baking (pies, muffins, cakes, cookies, scones…you name it), tennis (a failed first attempt – I think lessons are in order)
  6. Bad fall in office – One of the low-lights of 2009. Had a minor accident in office and sprained my neck and shoulder. Right before my holiday trip to Hong Kong too! Suey-ness.
  7. Rise of “flash-mobs” in Singapore – MJ’s death shocked the world, and to commemorate his work and music, several flash mobs (adapted from the global wave) were spotted in Singapore. These are amongst the firsts to gain quite some publicity here, I believe.
  8. Second visit to Hong Kong – My first visit was my grad trip, where I visit the bustling city with hall friends, in 2005. This time, I revisited this charming country with my partner – exploring new sights and revisiting familiar places that felt totally different.
  9. Ris Low with “BOOMZ” and “Shingz My Life” – Need I say more? She hogged the headlines of our mainstream papers and tabloids for quite some days. A low-light, I think…?

That ought to cover most of my 2009.

Enough of looking back, we’re less than 6 hours away in welcoming 2010, and I’m going to take this time to think about what I want to achieve in 2010.

Goodbye 2009 – it’s hasn’t been an easy ride, but we’ve survived it together, thank you. Here’s to an awesome 2010!