Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Irresistible Offer

I went back to school today to submit my leave form to extend my no-pay leave with the resignation letter as a back up. The P said that they need help at the library, to purchase books etc. I quickly volunteered to help shop for books as I really don't mind shopping for children's books. Actually, I love to shop for children's books!

And I've got an irresistible offer from the Principal instead. He offered me 1/4 load- just be the library coordinator, in charge of purchasing books and planning for library and reading programmes. No teaching, 2 days per week, 4-5hrs per day.

I couldn't believe it! This is really good! I had to stop myself from taking up his offer there and then. I told him that I would need to discuss with Jerome first.

On my way home, I couldn't wait to share with Jerome the 'good news'. I messaged him and told him about the P's offer. To my disappointment, Jerome's response was "No!" He said knowing me, I would eventually go to school three times a week and work 8 to 5 again. He said I might as well return full time...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ramdom Thoughts

My youngest sister wrote me a long mail via facebook telling me about what she thinks when she read about our adoption plans. She offered her mobile services 24-7 to me and I was really touched. She was telling me that we're still both young and should continue trying to have our own. She was concerned about what others may think, the questions asked by relatives, etc... What if the biological mother comes knocking and wants her child back? What if we eventually have our own biological children? What if the child grows up to be rebellious? These are questions that I have no definite answers.

But I told her not to tell my parents about this as nothing is for sure yet. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for my 'last chance' to get my BFP this year. Nevertheless, we have the pre-adoption workshop next January to look forward to. The November workshop was full and these workshops seem to be very popular.

From FB, I was updated about friends and colleagues who are having babies. 8 out of 10 ladies I knew from 2 years back from the singaporemotherhood forum, all trying to conceive then, already have their own babies.  I feel happy for them but can't help feeling envious about their 'good fortune'.  One of the reasons that I actually gave my P for going on leave from school is that I'm affected when I see other teachers getting pregnant in school.

I don't want to go to baby showers, children's birthday parties or huge family gatherings. I don't like putting myself through all the "Ah! Baby so cute!", "When's your turn?", "How many years have you been married? Isn't it about time to have your own children?" or "Why don't you want to have children?" Well, if they only knew. Jerome always say that many people have nothing better to say.

A couple of years back when my mother-in-law mentioned that it was about time for us to have a baby over a family dinner, Jerome told her off and said that it's really our business. She never bring up the matter ever since. But he did announce to her that we're trying to start our family last year. Wonder when she'll ask to see some results... Then imagine the shock she might get if she finds out we're thinking about adopting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking at Adoption in A New Light

I mentioned earlier that Jerome was thinking about adoption and a dear friend shared with me some information and links to some adoption agencies in Singapore. So I thought I could just take a look. Just to look.

There was a gallery showing lots of pictures of adorable babies and one moment I was 'awwwing' at the pictures of these cute little babies and the next moment, I found myself tearing up. I called Jerome to take a look. He looked ready to choose one already. All these babies are up for adoption because of one reason or the other. I felt a sudden urge to bring one home immediately.

I found out that there is a "Pre-adoption Workshop" coming up next Friday and the closing date for application is tomorrow! I told Jerome about the workshop and that we have to attend it. Jerome was puzzled why I was suddenly excited about adoption as I didn't seemed to so keen before. He said I should cool down. The next thing I know I burst out crying!  We are trying so hard to have one of our own babies and yet there are lots of parents who got their babies and didn't want them. The babies are innocent and we can give them a good family and home to grow up in. We will shower our baby with all our love.

I've sent them an email regarding the workshop and will call them tomorrow first thing in the morning.  I hope to still get the vacancies to go next week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Almost Sleepless Night

Was having problems falling asleep last night- thinking about SO-IUI, IVF, gynaes and adoption...

And when I finally fell asleep, I had a nightmare  dream that woke me up and I had troubles falling asleep again after that.

I dreamt that I was back in school trying to get some things ( OMG! I still have so much stuff in school!) but I bypass the office as I didn't want anyone to ask me how I've been? What I've been doing? etc... It must have been a Saturday as there was no one around. When I was about to leave the school, one of the HODs saw me and asked me whether I'm returning to school next year as they are planning for the time-table. My 6 months leave is coming to an end. I was thinking about how to answer him when I woke up.

I have 4 options.

1) Return to school next year.
2) Try to extend my no-pay-leave by another 6 months.
3) Ask for a transfer to a school closer to home.
4) Resign.

1) Return to School.
At least I'm productive in school. The children in school missed me and I missed them too. I have colleagues and friends to talk to. I won't feel like I'm living in a social vacuum. Now, I feel I can just throw away my mobile phone since hardly anybody ever calls me.

But I know once I'm back, I'll be consumed by the demands of work and lose my current focus/priority in life. Work stress correlates to low fertility rates. After enjoying life these few months, it will be difficult to get back into the routine. Back to waking up at 5am and reaching home at 7pm? For what?

2) Try to extend my No-Pay Leave.
Think that's going to be difficult. "Taking leave from work trying to conceive" doesn't seem like a valid reason at all. Although the P did say I can take 2 years off some 5 months, but that's still subjected to MOE's approval. Even when I'm on leave, I'm still often thinking about school. I still have my 'warehouse' I need to clear in school. I'm really a 'collector'. Am thinking of driving Jerome's car (once I'm confident enough) back to school so that I can clear all my barang barang in a few trips :P

3) Ask for a transfer to a school nearer to home.
This is quite an attractive option for me. The 3-4hr daily commute was a nightmare for me, especially when I take the Circle Line home during peak hours. In the morning, the crowd not so bad. I just have to leave home at 5.30am to catch a feeder bus, then take the train from Woodlands to Bishan, change to Circle Line, to Mountbatten, then transfer to another bus so that I can reach school by 7am. Then if I leave school at 4.30p.m, I can expect to reach home at around 7p.m. The peak hour crowd in the evening was a force. Trying to board a train from Bishan in a already sardined packed carriage is an almost impossible task. I usually have to wait for the next train. Then at Yishun, I had to alight again as the train terminates at the station. This time, I probably had to wait for the 4th train that comes along before I can find a lucky spot to squeeze myself in. Then another superlong queue for the feeder bus at the interchange to finally take me home.

I'm reminding myself of that nightmare as it plays a vital role in my decision making. And you can bet that after a long day at home and the long journey home, I don't have much energy left to do anything (or say anything) else in the evening. I didn't want to 'complain' to Jerome about the travelling at first as I knew what he'll just say, "See! I told you so! I've asked you to transfer school a long time ago! I already said part-time or just resign. But itchy backside has to go back full-time..."

Another school, another brand new start... but...

4) Resign.
Think I'll just resign and save everyone the trouble. I can stay focused on my current priority.
Like Jerome always say, "Relax! Take it easy!" So when should I submit my resignation again?

Another Cycle of Clomid

In February, Jerome made an appointment at KKH-The Private Suite to visit Dr K Loi who specializes in fertility.  After that first consultation, after an ultrasound and a Pap Smear, Dr Loi suggested that I was not ovulating and hence I was prescribed clomid to be taken over 3 cycles and Jerome had to check out his troops. Our next appointment will be after the 3 cycles and after Dr Loi returned from her maternity leave.

The first month I started, I had to visit the hospital for a blood test to check for my Progesterone levels that indicates whether I'm ovulating. But strangely, there was no follow up to that blood test. Just like the Pap Smear I did, there were no calls or mails. What's the purpose of doing the tests if I don't get the results?

After the 2nd blood test, I told the nurse about this. Only then I found out that I needed to get my blood test done at the KKIVF department, not at the Pte Suite. Anyway, a few days later, I received a call from a nurse telling me that I'm not ovulating and that I should increase my dosage of clomid to 2 tablets. So I had to make another trip to KKH just to get the extra tablets. Another blood test after the 3rd cycle confirmed that I was ovulating.

So after completing my first 3 cycles of clomid, we finally visited Dr Loi again in July.  She suggested that  do a HSG test where a radioactive dye is injected through the vagina and an x-ray taken to check whether my fallopian tubes are blocked. So I went for that and cleared the test.

The next visit, after the HSG test, Dr Loi suggested that I try another 3 cycles of clomid. Since I'm ovulating with 2 tablets, I'll just stick to 2. She informed us that she's leaving KKH for her own practice at Paragon so if I want to see her again, we'll have to move with her. Think it's a blessing really. We were thinking of seeing another gynae.

Jerome & I felt that she had not been very professional and most forgetful so we'll not visit her again. On 2 occasions, during the consultation, she said she's going to prescribe some multi-vitamins for Jerome  but she forgot. During a visit, I was told I need to do another Pap Smear during my next visit. And during my next visit, she forgot about it. We had stepped out of her office when I remembered that. We went back in and reminded her. During our last consultation, she said I should stick to 2 tablets of clomid. But when I got the prescription, I was given 3 tablets. Dr Loi made a mistake on the prescription? Both Jerome & I were certain that I were to be on 2 tablets.  Errr... so should I just take 2 tablets since I'm ovulating at 2, or should I be kiasu and take 3? Even the Pharmacist was surprised of my 'high' dosage as she had only seen prescription of 2 tablets so far. So we decided that we'll just stick to 2 tablets and we're definitely not going to stick to Dr Loi.

Anyway, so I've now started on my 5th cycle of clomid. Another cycle of wait and see...

On a brighter note, we've both passed all the medical tests that we had to do. I'm ovulating with 2 tables after my 3rd blood test. I've no side effects from taking clomid.

Jerome says we'll move on to IVF next year. He has also considered adopting.

P/S I was shocked at how cheap clomid is. At KKH, it's less than 20 cents a pill. So for less than a dollar a month, it had helped some many couples conceive. And it seems that many colleagues in school who had their babies took clomid before.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side of Life

When I told Jerome that I was feeling down on Friday, he jokingly said that the moodiness is one of the symptoms of a pregnancy. I told him that I'm feeling down because I fear another failed cycle. I'm on my 4th cycle of Clomid and Jerome had been working very hard too if you know what I mean.

He told me not to worry, we can take another 10 years if necessary. Now, I just have to stay positive and continue to look at the brighter side of things. He reminded me, for one I don't have to wake up at 5am in the morning to go to school anymore and I can do whatever I like at home. I actually have a lot of choices.

Indeed, I do have a lot of things to be grateful about. Before I start spiraling down the endless pit of self-pitiness & self-inflicted gloom, I should actually look at all the things I can be grateful about in my life.

* I'm happily married to a great guy who's really my greatest pillar of support. Yes, Jerome seems a little 'controlling' at times, but he always have good reasons. He has a good sense of humour and always make me laugh. He's confident and he's the kind who can strike up a conversation easily with anyone. I'm more of an introvert. Sometimes, I wonder how we ended up together. But really, he's my baby now.

* We now get to spend 24-7 together. It sounds incredible and somewhat unimaginable to some, but we're still as 'sticky' as ever. We're not at each other's neck yet. Well, i did marry him for better or worse, for 24 hrs a day. I enjoy cooking for him. He'll usually finish all the food that I've prepared and thanked me for the meal afterwards. Well, he also blamed me for his 20kg weight gain over the last 6 years. He really was a skinny man when I first met him. I was also slim then. Well, we've most definitely grown together over the years. For once my prayer was answered. "God, if you can't make me slimmer, make him fatter...".

* I've no financial worries. We're financially free. Like Jerome said, I don't not need to work for the money. Jerome gives me a comfortable monthly allowance, enough for me to give my parents, insurances, general spending and even some savings. And I'm quite 'low maintenance'. I've no qualms about going for a $5 haircut at my neighbourhood hairdresser. Other than buying children's books (I've stopped buying them for the moment), my biggest spending is on travelling as in going for holidays.

* I don't need to work. I am free to do whatever I like and just need to keep myself fruitfully occupied. I can do all the things I wouldn't have the time or energy to do when I've been busy teaching in school. I've learn to cook and bake in recent years. My father was 'shocked' as I've never knew how to cook anything before. Now, I can cook, bake and blog :) I've just taken my needles and started cross-stitching again. The next cross-stictching project will be Precious Moments "Noah's Arc" or maybe one with a baby. I can still have a couple of students for tuition to keep in touch with teaching. Jerome says it's really in me to teach :P, but I don't have to go to school to do it.

* I've took my parents on a holiday. I've glad that I've brought my parents on a fully-paid vacation to Zhangjiajie in September this year. It's my little way to pay back what my parents have given me. My parents did finance my Europe trip after my graduation from NUS and the last time I paid for their vacation was a cruise for the entire family in my first year in MOE. I had to take an interest-free installment plan then. In the past, I've been one who spent more than I earn.

* I am happy now. Yes, I have to admit. If I am not happy now, what can make me sure that I can only be happy when a baby comes along. I don't need a baby to complete our family. Yes, I would really want to have children that's a little of Jerome and a little of me. I would love to read and tell endless stories to our children. Jerome'll be a great father. We'll bring them to the parks and zoo. We will bring them to Toys"R"us and buy them all sorts of toys so that we can play with them too. These are all the nice scenarios that we've painted in our minds when the children come. But at the same time, I admit, I'm scared. I've enough experience teaching children with special needs and learning difficulties. I've a nephew who has serious autism and attends a special school. Another niece needs daily hormone injection to aid in her growth. So, I would rather be childless and happy than to have a child with special needs and become a parent who's always worried about the child. But guess that's one of the responsibility of becoming a parent. You worry. First you worry about the pregnancy, then the birth, growth, education (PSLE, O levels, A levels...), friends, relationships, work, marriage, family, etc... I think this reverse psychology works. Ah Q's Spirit at work again. I am happy now. I don't have to worry about so many things. I don't have a child to worry about...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Put On Hold...

I feel my life is currently on a "put on hold" mode...

A couple of weeks ago, I tried my luck and asked Jerome whether we can go on our year end holiday to celebrate our wedding anniversary. My mother-in-law had postponed her operation to the end of the year so we could still go on a holiday and be back to take care of her post operation. The plan was that after her operation, she would move to our place so that I can help to take care of her. Jerome knows I love to travel so he agreed and asked me to check out tour groups to Taiwan since I've not been there. 

So after calling a few agencies, we planned to book our tour the next day since vacancies were limited. The next day, we were driving to Chinatown when Jerome asked, "What if you are pregnant then?" We decided that it would then be risky to go traveling during the early stages of the pregnancy.  So there goes my plan to travel. 

I just had my driving license last month and am planning to get a second-hand car which will be convenient  for me when I go for my tuition. At first, Jerome was the one who said he would get me a car if I've got my license. I had told him that I did not want a car as I don't really need it and public transport is convenient, etc... But I've since changed my mind. I would like to get a cute little hatchback. So Jerome said "Get 2 or 3 students to justify the cost of owing a car." So I got my students. But he changed his mind. He said I've just got my license, so there's no hurry into getting a car. I need to be more confident on the road first. Ya, but don't I need the practice?

So I asked him if he want me to take public transport and squeeze with other commuters when I'm pregnant? (not that pregnant women can't take public transport, but I thought that was a good reason/excuse to get a car) Then he rebutted and said it's dangerous to drive when I'm pregnant!? So don't take in so many pupils, he said. Just 2. ( I suspect he'll probably ask me to give up my tuition when I'm pregnant.) The car will probably be parked and not used for months when I give birth, etc...

So while I'm waiting every month to be finally pregnant, my life's simply put on hold...
The 1st priority as Jerome said for me was really to make a baby, meanwhile...

I can't go back to work.
I can't further my studies.
I can't go on holidays.
I can't get too many tuition assignments.
I can't get a car.
I can't even drink coffee or tea!
I can't eat too much fruits, too 'liang'.

I've to put everything else on hold...
Don't know how much longer I have to wait...
Don't know how much longer I can wait...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!

My birthday cake from Four Leaves

It's my birthday and through FB, I've receive lots of well wishes from ex-students, friends and relatives.
A year older, so what have I accomplish last year or over all these years?

A time to reflect...

As a wife...
As a mother-wanna-be...
As a daughter...
As a sister...
As a friend...
As a teacher...
on myself in general...

In the past, I would have started with the teacher part...

The most generous man I know...

Jerome and I were invited to my father's friend (an Uncle Ho) 70th birthday party-dinner last Saturday. It was a grand celebration at a seafood restaurant  for 38 tables of guests complete with a dragon dance troupe that kickstart the evening. I remember attending Uncle Ho's 50th Birthday at a revolving restaurant. I vaguely remember Auntie Ho taking care of me in their small dark flat when I was a toddler when both my parents were working. I kinda grow up with her children.

My father and Uncle Ho came from the same kampong in Malaysia and they met each other again through coincidence in Singapore. I always Uncle Ho as a proud Teochew who was proud of being a Teochew and was always preaching/lecturing about values and such.

His eldest son gave an opening speech about how his father came to Singapore from Malaysia with just $20 in his pocket and that was a loan. There was no shame about it. From his humble beginnings, he had brought up his 3 children- 2 boys and a girl in a 3-room flat by being a lorry driver.

Uncle Ho is not the one who made it big. It was his eldest son, at 35yrs old, now a millionaire (maybe a multi-one) residing at Singapore's prime location at Bukit Timah A brilliant kid who scored straight As and managed to get to Hwa Chong Institution, one of the top colleges in Singapore, on his way to University,  ready for a bright future. Then he dropped out of school because of a shot-gun marriage.

Along the way, I know he tried to be a salesman of sorts, selling high-end products like mattresses, etc. I know because he got my father to buy one from him. I know that my parents have been helping their family in different ways.

Meanwhile, the second son was somehow getting into some troubles of his own. Uncle Ho got him to help my parents at their vegetable stall. So my parents employed him as a part-timer on weekends. The youngest daughter barely completed her secondary school education and got into another shot-gun marriage of her own. She married into Malaysia and together with her young husband, they would travel to & fro Malaysia and Singapore where they worked in a factory. Sad to say, their marriage didn't last. After having 3 children together, they divorced a few years back because the husband got himself a new girlfriend. Life's not perfect.

Anyway, back to the dinner... Uncle's Ho son was drinking far too much... He was loud and drunk, entertaining his friends. It was his father's birthday and he paid for it and he invited his friends. It looked   like his wedding banquet that he didn't manage to hold years ago when he got married at young age.

When he finally came to our table, he knelt between my parents and told the 2 tables of relatives and friends that my father is his father's benefactor and he was very grateful to the help my parents had given to their family.

He looked at me and I smiled at him. He's drunk. Then he turned to Jerome and told him, "She is my sister. You better don't bully her. Take good care of her. Or else I'm going to come after you." I thought this was pretty funny, sounds like lines out of a script. I was kinda touched nevertheless. Now I suddenly have a brother who sticks out for me.

Then he went on to hit his chest and made a promise to repay my parents' kindness by helping my father's descendants if anyone needs it. I don't know how my parents really helped his family, but this sounds like a very serious promise from a drunk man.

I wonder if he could really keep his promise and help to right a wrong.  When his brother came to help my parents at their vegetable stall, he was trusted with handling money. Temptation must have been too great as he helped himself to some extra pocket money. As time went on, he must have gotten bolder and took more. My mother noticed that the takings became significantly lesser on weekends. We are taking about hundreds of dollars here. It just didn't make sense where there were more customers on weekends but the takings were less than the weekdays. She noticed that when he was not around on certain weekends, the takings were more. So she found the theft and thief.

After my parents found out about the theft, they didn't confront him or  tell Uncle Ho. They just gave him an excuse saying that they did not need his help on weekends anymore and tries to forget about the incident. It's human to err and we all makes mistakes in our youth.

Perhaps it's time to redeem himself, time to come clean, to clear his conscience. Yes, he had made a mistake then. We kept quiet about it but we knew what he did. Since he is now able (helping his elder brother in a new business), it'll be good for him to personally admit his mistake, apologise and repay the 'loan' that my parents had given him then. It'll be the right thing to do but of course, my parents have no such expectations.

Anyway, this is just a wild thought. Just to voice it out here...

Note about my parents and their way with $:
My father is a one of the most generous man I've ever known. Although not rich himself, but he will always help relatives and friends in need when he is able to. My mother will always spends hundreds buying foodstuff to give to relatives whenever we visit our relatives in Malaysia. When relatives visit us, they can expect an expenses all-paid for holiday. Sometimes, I think my parents' were being taken advantage of. Their mentality was "If we have money, we share." After the Sichuan Earthquake, my father donated an amount (I found out from my sister's blog) which shocked me. He's one generous man with a big heart. "If you like it, buy it." he would tell my mother, indulging her, encouraging her to spend on things not necessary.  I used to 'spend money like water', spoilt by my parents, but I'm glad Jerome has 'cured' me. I was the one trying to curb my parents' spending when we went on a holiday recently, stopping them from buying too many things that they would eventually giving away anyway.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teen Hacked to Death at Downtown East

On Halloween night, a 19 yr old teen was attacked by a group of young men from 18-20 yrs. It started with a misunderstanding. He was caught staring at the group and the group took that up as a challenge and in turn got choppers and hacked him. Passer-bys were confused and thought it was a Halloween prank. The 19 year old died in hospital 5 hrs later.

This is madness! I feel sad for the family to lose a member through a sudden and violent death. And it just started with a stare? According to the teen's friend, he was a shy boy and he's probably looking stoned. And now what? Another 4 young men to die as a punishment for their crime? An eye for an eye. A life for a life?

Next time when you find someone staring at you, just smile back.

Across the Causeway

Jerome and I went to Kulai, Malaysia last week for lunch. Yes, we travel to & fro just to have bak kut teh. He had a craving for the bak kut teh there. According to him, it's the best he had ever eaten.

Anyway, we were at the checkpoint and getting our passports stamped and I spotted a handwritten sign that read "Homemade Chocolate for Sale RM 20" with a box of chocolates displayed just next to it. Obviously, the customs officers are underpaid and are seeking additional sources of income...

That reminds me of the occasions we were 'caught' speeding ( we were just a few km above the speed limit) on the road and had to pay the traffic police. It's plain daylight robbery by the men in uniform actually. If only the officers are as efficient catching real criminals. I've heard so much about robberies in broad daylight. Fortunately, we are lucky so far. But a visit across the causeway always warrant extra care and being more wary about the people and surroundings.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Driving License

After 17 sessions of  2hrs driving lessons over a period of 3 months in a driving school, I've finally got my driving license!

Had my first driving lesson on 13th July.  And after 11 sessions, I completed the driving school's 30 lessons subjects  and booked my Practical driving test on 16th August.  The test date was 15th October and there was a 2-months wait. So I decided to take a 7 weeks break before doing a daily intensive revision a week before the actual test.

On Monday, I was still mounting curbs on the narrow courses and almost forgot about my parkings.   Fortunately, my daily intensive revision lessons just before the test this morning helped.  A total of 12 demerit points were given to me, all for road driving. Circuit all clear! Phew! A huge sigh of relief! Yeah!

After getting the test results, all the drivers who passed the practical driving test had to watch a 8minute video on road safety messages. There were lots of pictures of fatal accident scenes due to reckless driving and some horrible videos of actual accidents.  It was like watching 8 full minutes of gruesome horror film. I hope I'm not getting any nightmares later...

Is this necessary? Well... Think it does serves as a good reminder that safe driving is essential. Instead of the usual road safety messages that tells you what to do, here's one that shows you what happened if one drives recklessly. Reverse psychology?

Anyway, I've got my P plate and tomorrow I'm going to try driving Jerome's car :) It's going to be challenging for me as it's a big continental car and Jerome has already briefed me on the differences in the controls. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Farewell Mrs Lee KY

Mrs Lee Kuan Yew (Madam Kwa Geok Choo) considered the mother of Singapore, passed away last Saturday, 2nd October. She was 89.  She was the amazing woman behind our minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Singapore. Considered by some to be a man who was stern and 'ruled with an iron hand',  she was according to him, his pillar of strength. The extraordinary woman who was intelligent (she topped the 1936 Senior Cambrige Examination for the whole  of Malaya and Singapore), graceful, meticulous, an ideal wife and partner and a wonderful mother... She has truly lived a life that's extraordinary. A role model that I can look up to.

She had been bedridden after suffering from a series of strokes 2 years back. Yet, he remained faithful and talked to her daily, reading to her her favourite poems. Theirs is a great love story that touches me. Its really a marriage through sickness and health till death does part them...

My heartfelt condolences to our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and family to the loss of their beloved wife and mother. I wish the Lee family strength and the best of health.

Without her and the Lee family, Singapore wouldn't be what it is today.

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity - William Penn. 

CNA special news report here.

A tribute to Mrs Lee KY-A tower of Strength.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We're living at the Border...

I thought that it was interesting when Jerome's eldest brother made a remark that went something like that...

"Something must be wrong. A sister and her American husband are now in the States (sister's been there for close to 20 yrs). A brother and his family are in Australia, been there for 2 yrs and counting. And another one living at the border..."

Well, Jerome & I are living at the borders of Singapore. We can practically walk to Malaysia via the causeway. And everyday we see more of Malaysia from our windows.

I am a Malaysian but currently a Singapore PR. I have been staying in Singapore with my parents for as long as I could remember. But honestly, I have no desire to return to Malaysia. I think the "One Malaysia" dream will still take a long long time before it will come true.

Singapore has given me a lot of opportunities that I wouldn't have back in Malaysia. I'm glad that my parents moved out of Malaysia and into Singapore in the pursue of a better life. If we were to stay in Malaysia, I would most likely end up as a factory worker or something... Unless my parents are rich, I wouldn't have the opportunity to pursue a tertiary education.

Think Singapore is truly an amazing country and what it has accomplished is nothing short of a miracle. For an almost invisible red dot on the world map (think you'll need a magnifying glass to locate Singapore on the map) with limited land, no natural resources and uneducated people, it has definitely come a long long way to where we are today in just over 40 yrs. As compared to our neighbours who have lots of natural resources, we have developed much faster than all of them despite our limitations. The credit definitely goes to exceptional good governance.

Yes, the cost of living is high. Life can get stressful in Singapore. There are still lots of areas for improvement. But hey, nothing is truly perfect but you must admit that life's still good in Singapore and actually better than in many other countries! Be thankful for all the things that come easily to us. Sometimes I think Singaporeans are too pampered, me included. I do think of myself more of a Singaporean than a Malaysian, having spent most of my life here. Even if you are currently living overseas, enjoying a better quality of life, be thankful about what Singapore has given you so far so that you have more options now. 

So for Singaporeans and residents who like to complain about the 'garmen', don't take everything for granted... This is also a reminder for myself...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Piece of Beautiful Sky

The sky was beautiful, but couldn't quite capture it on camera...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Goh Family Gathering 2010

The Goh family had a gathering at our place last Sunday afternoon for tea. The last time everyone was together was during our wedding 4 years ago. Jerome's elder sister returned from Ohio, USA for a month's visit and his younger brother returned from Perth, Australia. Here are some pictures taken...

The best way to entertain children while the adults are busy eating is to let them watch a nice cartoon- Ice Age!

Some credit to Po Po who also helped to entertain the young and not so young...

Yu Zuo, the youngest in the Goh family, super adorable!

Cheeky Kang Kang enjoying a slice of cake and egg tart...
"I don't want half! I can finish 1 on my own!" he insisted :)

Angela and Yu He...

The old & young ladies of the Goh family...

Time for a family photo...
Can see that Jerome & I are the 'chubbier' ones in the family?
Jerome kept complaining that I'm a negative influence :P

A fun shot!!!

It was a great family gathering... I hope everyone had enjoyed my bakes :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

View From Our Windows

When we started looking for a flat 2 years ago, we wanted one with a 'view'- one with windows looking out to the park, garden, etc... We didn't want one that faces the corridor, school or the carpark.

I'm glad we found what we wanted...

The only minus is that it's 2 hours from my work place...
Well, I'm not working now... so that's no longer an issue...

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Visit to Woodlands Waterfront

Jerome's younger brother & family came for a visit yesterday afternoon. They are back for a 2 weeks visit from Perth, Australia. We went to the park in the evening. Here are some pictures of the children and the young at heart having fun :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meeting with the Ms Tans

Met up with 3 'old' friends from NIE (National Institute of Education) last Friday for afternoon tea. We have known each other for about 10 years now since we went to NIE for our trainings to be teachers. We are the '4 Musketeers' or the '4 Ms Tans', always hanging out with one another back in NIE. We were all very passionate about teaching.

Ever since we started teaching, we have not been able to meet up very often. Hence, when J arranged for a meet up, I was very excited. I actually can't remember when was the last time the 4 of us had met up together. Maybe it was during my housewarming some 4 years ago?

Anyway, the irony is that none of us is currently teaching in school. 2 of them have coincidentally resigned in the beginning of the year. The other 2 of us are currently on No Pay Leave (NPL). See how much we have in common?

Together, we have more than 30 years of teaching experience and well trained...
1 is an experienced GEP-Math teacher for over 5 yrs
1 is experienced LSC who's also Brain Gym trained and got a 2 yr diploma from Britain to help children with dyslexia.
1 is an experienced LSM, who went HQ, got a MOE scholarship, & currently doing her masters in applied psychology.
Hence, it's a pity if we're not going to teach anymore.

Other than catching up with one other's lives, there were also proposals for businesses, something for us to collaborate together again :) One wanted to open a tuition centre, another wanted to open a student care centre. If you're working so hard, you might as well work hard for yourself & be rewarded... They're really thinking about starting their own businesses related to education.

Me? I was only thinking about my trip to Phuket the following day.

Anyway, went home and told Jerome about all these talks about businesses and making $ (Work less & Earn More :P) Jerome said I can forget about starting a business, I'm a lousy business person. For now, I can just worry about cooking delicious meals at home, pick up some life skills (eg. driving), bake and sell some cookies, just relax and enjoy and have a baby. And I can leave the $-making business to him...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Learning to Drive

Went for my first driving lesson today... well, not really my first time...
My first driving lesson was back during my Uni days. I had tried to get my driving lessons over 10 yrs ago until I was involved in an accident.

I was having my last practice session before my practical driving test when it happened. We were at the traffic junction when the traffic lights turned red. I stopped the car and waited for the arrow light to turn right. There was a motorbike on my left. When the arrow light appeared, I drove off. The motorbike of course went ahead and as he was turning, he skidded (there were gravel on the road) and fell in front of my car. I immediately jammed brake.

Of course at that instant, I couldn't see the motorcyclist. He was directly in front of the car or under it...
My driving instructor was looking at the newspapers and was only aware of the accident when I jammed brake. He opened his car door and swore. Apparently, my left front tyre was on the man's hand. He told me to reverse the car. Thinking back, I am glad that I didn't do anything horrendous like stepping on the accelerator accidentally and really running over that poor man... I've heard enough stories of drivers who accidentally step on the accelerator instead of the brakes.

Fortunately, there was an eyewitness who gave an account of what happened and that I was not at fault, that I did not hit the motorist causing him to skid. The traffic police came, the ambulance came. The traffic police said that the accident was a 'good experience' for me so that I would know how to react in an accident in future. I was told to go ahead with my practical test.

When I returned home and told my mum about the accident, she tried to encourage me by saying that experienced drivers also get into accidents. Then she went on to tell me about a recent accident about someone who drove up the pavement and killed 2 pedestrians along the way. What an encouragement... I chickened out... I didn't go for my practical driving test.

After that accident, I kind of have a phobia of driving. I prefer to just be a passenger. I don't want to be held responsible for another person's life. I'm wary of motorcyclist riding near to cars. They weave in and out of traffic, I fear for their lives.

Anyway, public transport in Singapore is just so convenient. Hence, there's really no need for one to drive or own a car. Owning a car in Singapore is expensive. The COE (Certificate of Entitlement) to own a car for 10 years cost about $30-40k. Then there's road tax, ERP (Electronic Road Pricing), expressways that are jammed..., I don't believe in getting a car at all.

So if I don't like to drive and don't believe in owning a car, why am I learning to drive? Jerome said that driving is a life skill. Well, I've survived without a driving license for over 30 years... Well, but really in case of an emergency, I can drive... And since I'm not working now, with time on my hands, it's a good time to pick up driving once again.

And it certainly helps when the driving school is a 5-minutes bus ride away...

Learning to Knit

Like a pair of chopsticks on blue noodles...

I bought myself  the knitting needles and yarn on Saturday from Daiso, thinking of starting to learn to knit. It was really difficult trying to understand the instructions... I'm stuck... for the time being... Going to try harder...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prawn Fishing

Jerome and I started going for prawn fishing some couple of years back. We would always visit the pawning pond just behind the country club in Marina South. The pond was always very crowded even in the middle of the night. The workers would be releasing prawns every hour and the catch was good. We could easily catch over 30 prawns in 3 hours with a rod. When we found out that the pond was closing, we visited there every weekend. We would have a rod each and compete to see who caught more prawns. The loser will have to pay for the rods. 

After the pond was closed, we tried prawn fishing in other places. But nothing beats our prawning experience at Marina South. Now, occasionally we would visit the prawning ponds at Bishan. There are Barbeque pits so you have the options of grilling your prawns. We always bring our prawns home to cook them in other dishes. 

Well, it's definitely expensive prawns but it's really for the fun... 

Simple Joys

Last Friday evening, Jerome & I cycled to the Woodlands Coast Park after dinner. The 1st phase of the park was recently completed and the 2nd phase will be completed by the end of the year. We jog there at least twice a week and cycle there once a week. Then we'll enjoy the ice-cream sandwiched in crispy wafer biscuits. Enjoying an ice-cream is one of the simple things that will always make me happy :)

Hmm... I should probably make some ice-cream at home :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Visit to NLB

Just went to the library earlier to borrow some cook books but in the end I returned with 5 books and none of them is a cook book :P Hmm... come to think about it, it's my first visit this year to borrow books for myself.

Borrowed this Eyewitness Travel Guidebook as we're going to Phuket the next weekend!
 It's my first trip to Phuket. It'll be a great short getaway. Jerome had wanted to go to Tioman but the air tickets there are about 40% more expensive than the air tickets to Phuket. The last getaway we had was during the CNY when we went to a nice resort at Batam.

I've bought and read Julie Powell's "Julie and Julia" about how she started a blog to document her experience in trying out all the recipes in Julia Child's French cookbook. Well, she became famous, very famous and her story's been made into a movie last year. See... ordinary women in the kitchen who became famous... Hmm... when's my turn? :P

Picked up these two books at the Crafts Section... Yap, going to learn to knit... Wait & see...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jobless Again...

I'm on my long no pay leave and I'm really thankful that I don't have to wake up up 5am and spend more than 3 hours commuting on public transport daily anymore. I'm now just a simple woman, a home maker. Life's simple. Just always thinking about the next meals...

Colleagues said that some envied me. Hubby calls me to quit my job and be a housewife. It's not as if I'm living as a 'Tai-Tai', some rich housewife who goes for facials, massage, shoppings and hi-teas, etc... I must confess that without work, I'm really quite stress-free... I have time to do many other things that I had no time for in the past.

Well, I've finally visited the dentist to get my wisdom teeth extracted and don't even need Medical Leave cos I'm already on leave...

Though now I have all the time in the world, I don't feel like going out. No shopping at Orchard Road... No hi-tea with friends (haven't got any recent invites). Just wanna laze around at home, thinking of bakes and cakes, playing God on my I-Phone (Godfinger)...

Haven't even gone to sign up for my driving lessons and practical tests... Also thinking about taking some Wilton Cake decorating classes, teach tuition to a couple of kids in my neighbourhood, volunteer somewhere, bringing my parents for a holiday,... But thoughts have not transformed into practical actions yet... I'm now living in the slow pace... taking time.... I'm guilty of wasting time...

I had a dream last night. I dreamt of giving birth to a cute little baby, feeding it, taking care of it, loving it... It was so real...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clearing My Work Station Again

Today is the last day of the school holiday and I went back today TRYING to clear my work station. I realized that it's a mission impossible!

Found things that I've bought still in their plastics. Guilty of buying things that I don't need but thought I need... Boxes of gifts and stationery for children... children books... educational cards games, expired snacks... an ostrich egg...
Incredible amount of stuff I've accumulated over the years for my teaching... The amount of $ I've spent...
I can't possibly bring everything home...

Decided that I'm going to have the GSS (Great Sheryl's Sale). Everything has to go! Well, as much as possible...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Real Riches

My New MacBook Pro

Got myself a MacBook Pro :)  My first Mac! Have been thinking of getting a Mac for quite some time now. Bought it on the Apple Store, with a promotion that gives a free IPod Touch after rebate. So spent most of my time playing with my new toy :)

MacBook Pro- definitely sleek, cool and powerful!

Still finding my way around Mac...

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Beautiful Nieces

Jerome's eldest brother has 3 beautiful daughters :)

Ke Ke & HeHe

Zuo Zuo with her big round eyes...

I've baked a cake for Zuo Zuo for her 1st birthday just so that she can mess it up :P
It was just so funny to observe her responses.
Jerome laughed the loudest and he had such a good laugh...
I'm just concerned whether she'll messed up all cakes in future...

Ke Ke, a book worm, appearing as a silly monkey...
This is actually a very interesting book with a hole for all the animals :)

He He as a grizzly bear...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Clearing Up

Have been clearing up my work station for the past 2 weeks now, bit by bit. Been lugging home 2 full bags of books and stuff every day. 10% home, another 90% to go... Can't imagine how much books and stuff I have accumulated over the past few years. I think the $ I've spent on children's books is more than a luxurious trip to Europe!

Actually I've started my own collection of children's books since my NIE days. I've always been interested in books and stories. Hmm... think I started collecting books since my primary school days...To date, as a conservative estimate, I should have not less than 500 books, maybe even 1000? I've always have a well-stocked class library to encourage my children to read. Knowing that many of their parents do not bring them to the national library and at that time, the school library did not have a really good collection, I provided a conducive reading corner in class and for allowing the children to borrow the books home, hoping  to pass on the passion for reading.

What about all my furniture? I've a 3-seater couch, an antique coffee table (left from Jerome's business), 6 book shelves, 4 long book shelf cum bench, plastic cabinets. Yes, incredible, but the school is like my home. I do spend more waking hours in school than at home. Wonder if I can have a garage sale in school to sell all my stuff... Hopefully I can get enough $ to buy my KitchenAid...

Anyway for the time being, the books are going to sit at home and occasionally entertain the children who will visit. Wonder when I can share some of my favourite stories again...

Last Day of School

Yesterday was the last day of school for Semester 1. The teachers will be meeting the parents these 2 days to give out the report books and talk about the children's performance, etc.

12.30p.m. I went down to the office to look for Mr W, the P, to submit my resignation letter. I had wanted to submit my resignation letter last Friday, but he was not in school. Then because of Jerome's sensitivity to numbers, he said that it was not good to submit it yesterday (May 24- sounds like I'm dying of hunger in chinese). So after class, when I saw his car at his usual parking lot, I quickly grabbed the chance to see him.

First, we talked about something else... my pupil. I presented him with a big A4 white envelope containing samples of a pupil's work. It was a case of trying to persuade the parent to send the child to a special school as she is not learning much in school. At 11 yrs, she still can't write a simple sentence independently, eg, "My name is ________________." And she's suppose to take the PSLE next year...

Then I presented the smaller envelope to him. He looked at me puzzled. I mumbled "my resignation letter..."
He opened up the envelope and read the letter and the resignation form (Yap, there is actually a resignation form downloadable from HR. There are boxes to tick for the reasons to leave. There are options that include stress, long hours, distance, etc. I wonder if people do really tick the real reasons. Anyway, I've selected others and stated family affairs. There should be one for Trying to Conceive) So as he was reading, I was feeling nervous, anticipating his questions that will follow. I'm afraid I'm going to cry...

Finally, he looked up and asked "You are leaving the service?"
"Yes." I replied with a forced smile, trying to blink back the tears I could already feel.
"For good?" he asked again.
"Well... at least for the time being." I replied.

He then suggested that I should take no pay leave to settle the 'family affairs' istead of just resigning unless I'm thinking of getting another job after leaving. It will be difficult to return to the service after resigning. I'll have to go through the interview process again, etc... So go home and discuss the option with husband first but submit the leave form asap...

So in the end, I walked out of his office with my resignation letter still in my hands...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kelong Trip over Labour Day Long weekend

Down with a flu at home today with nothing to do so here I am...

This is a 2D1N Sibu kelong fishing trip over the long weekend a fortnight ago...

Sunday Morning: Kiang Kee Claypot Bak Kut Teh Breakfast at 800a.m...

Popular among many locals and Singaporeans who know about this. This place was located next to the road in the middle of nowhere. There are no other buildings in sight.... Had wanted to take some pictures of the food but totally forgot about it when the food arrived :P This is still the best bak kut teh I've eaten...
We took a 45 min boat ride to the Kelong on a small boat. Unfortunately, the engine was overheated along the way and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere... The avid 'fisherman' didn't waste time and started fishing... Before he could catch anything, the boat was ready to go again...

View of the kelongs from the boat...

We had the kelong almost all to ourselves as it was non-peak. There were less than 20 occupants. The kelong was actually fully booked just a day before with over 100 occupants. Btw, that's Mum and Dad fishing... Jerome brought the rods and prepared everything else...

A look at our accomodation. You can see and hear everyone sleeping at one glance. Not much of a privacy. Imagine if it's fully occupied!

And yes, before you knew it, before we had a chance to catch any fish, it was time for lunch... For less then RM$155/pax , you get a trip to the kelong, a bed or rather a mattress to sleep (if you want to), 5 meals (lunch, dinner, supper, breakfast and lunch) and free flow of coffee, tea and biscuits in tins. Think we shouldn't complain.

Other than fishing, it's just time to sit back and do nothing... and enjoy the beautiful scenery...

My aunts and their catch... Actually it was given to them by another group who caught the dead fish. They had wanted to throw it away but one of my aunts thought it was a waste and decided to use it to make salted fish. Ironic that these two did not have a fishing rod and totally not into fishing managed to go home with the biggest catch :P

Jerome managed to catch a squid after his giant fish got away when his fishing line snapped... He was telling me that the fish was more than 2 arms length and the guy next to him actually dropped his jaws. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to catch the action. Better luck next time?