People I Totally Respect

It takes a lot from me to proclaim my respect to someone. But they are some people in my life who really deserves my respect. May I be biased and say that they are all women? I have always read that it takes a lot to break a woman, and through these people, I can now totally agree with this statement. These women are unbreakable.

I know them personally. I’ve heard their stories. I’ve seen them fall and pick themselves up again. I see their determination to make their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones, better. And I see that they never stopped believing they can do it.

All of them have failed marriages before, and have been at the lowest point of their lives, but have all bounced back and are enjoying a better life now. And they did it all by themselves. How not to respect them?

If my life should hit rock bottom one day, I pray that I have their strength, their indestructible spirit, to get through. I pray that I can be such a woman too.

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Blogging Again

I was clearing my email sent box today, and saw some emails that I sent to my other address years ago. One of it is the this blog address. So, I came in to this blog, and saw the links to my friends’ blogs. Out of curiosity, I clicked on every single one of them. As expected, all of us stopped writing already. I guess, with FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, nobody really bothered to read a blog, less to say write one.

Anyway, I came across a blog of one old friend. We don’t meet as much these days and even when we do, we don’t really get to talk much, since there is usually a group of us. I was pretty surprised that she actually continued to write, albeit occasionally, until recent years. I read about things that happened to her, which she didn’t mentioned before. It was nice to know about this part of her life that she rarely talked about. It was nice to know another side of her.

What I read on her blog this morning, inspired me to pick up blogging once more. And so happens, she decided to Skype me after lunch, and after some catching up, we encouraged and spurred each other to continue writing again.

Writing is our best way of expressing our thoughts, so why stop?

Of My Little Girl

Hooo.. It’s been quite a while since I last blogged. With so many things happening in my life now, blogging is the last thing I want to do.

I had wanted to close down this blog so that I don’t feel the burden of responsibilities if I don’t update. But then again, there’s so much in this blog that I couldn’t bear to delete away. So much of the past 4-5 years of my life.

So, after a hiatus of 2 months, I shall dedicate this entry to Tara, my precious little girl.

Tara will be 5 years old in 5 months time, so now, technically speaking, she’s still 4 and a half, although she will vehemently protest when I said that and push her five tiny fingers into my face and exclaimed loudly, “NO! I’m 5!!”

I looked through her younger photos and was amazed by the difference in her looks from a year ago, and a year before that. Even a year ago, she still have that babyish look. But one year on, she suddenly became a little miss (to me, that’s very sudden).

I know she’s a little girl through and through because:

1) She only likes wearing dresses and skirts, even to places where we have rough play. I don’t want her undies to show, but she couldn’t care much. No pretty dresses, no chance we can step out of the house.

2) I wear lip gloss, she wants it too. So I bought her something close to a lip gloss. Lip balm. And she will use it EVERYDAY before we drop her off at school. If I accidentally cleaned it off with tissue while I’m wiping off her snot. She will scream. No joke.

3) I wear nail polishes, she wears clear varnishes. I really don’t want her to go to school with pink nails. But somehow, I have to give in to her whiny cries.

4) PINK, PINK, PINK. She’s overloaded with pink stuff. Pink water bottles, pink school bags, pink EZlink card holder, pink Crocs, pink PJs. Okay, I may love pink myself. But then, this girl was way overkill with her top to toe pink stuff.

5) Cannot cut her hair short, no matter how messy it is, because she wants to tie a cute ponytail when she goes to school everyday.

6) Finally, her whiny voice when she wants something. It’s the kind of voice that irritates you to hell if you are not in a good mood. Or melts your heart to molten when you are in a happier mood. “MUMmmmmmmmyyyyy~~~~”, plus her big doe eyes. And she gets her way sometimes. Or most times I guess.

Because of school and her grandparents, she’s effectively bilingual now. She has no problems speaking in mandarin and english. Now, she speaks either mandarin OR english and makes us all do the same. If you don’t, she will go “Mummy, if you want to speak English, you speak English, if you want to speak Chinese, you speak Chinese. Don’t speak both together okay?” Well, that was what I told her some time back, and she remembers. But darling, Mummy got problems translating some Chinese to English, mah.

No singlish allowed too. No lar-s, no lor-s. If not, “I will send you to ‘lor’ island, if you say lor again”, she says.

Up until now, she attends a single enrichment class a week. Phonics at Zoophonics. She’s been attending this class for the past 1 year. Done with all the single letter sounds and moving on to blending. But Daddy wants to switch her to “I Can Read” so now I’m checking which branch has a better environment. She used to attend Speech and Drama and Lorna Whiston but we pulled her out after a few months, reason? Don’t really like it.

I wanted to enrol her in one more class, but something that she really interested in. She loves dancing to fast beat music, art and craft and going to swimming complexes. So I guess it’s either hip hop, craft or swimming classes. Yet to decide because I didn’t want to tire her out. But she told me she wants to learn everything. Whoa. Even got the money must also have the time right?

Her favourite food. Mostly carbos. Noodles, dumplings, buns, bread. Love fruits too, especially strawberries. For a while, she steered away from green veges because her friends doing the same. Peer pressure, I guess. Then one day, she woke up from her evening nap while we having zi char outside and with a chop stick, finished up like 10 pcs of Kai Lan in top speed. So now, she’s taking more vege. And only the green ones.

I’m more relaxed on her junk food intake already. But then, I still try not to give as much, if I can help it.

Okay, enough of updates. Now, a photo of her, taken just days ago.

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A new beginning

Today marks a new beginning in my life. It takes me quite a while to make this decision. People question my reason for doing it, but who really understands why I did it.

What seems nice on the surface, is actually turbulent underneath. A time bomb waiting to explode, and it finally did.

Am I going to regret this decision?

Chinese New Year – Day 4

I had to go back to office for “heng gung”. We don’t have to work but we gotta go back for the “occasion”. Brought Tara along with me cos I had arranged to meet Sis after that.

Went back to Dad’s place again, took a nap and waited for Bob to fetch us home. One more day of rest before going back to work.

Reached office at 9.30am and everyone was looking intently at their computers. Hey, I thought don’t need to work?? I looked closely and realized they were all surfing internets. Cheh! Tara took about 15 mins to warm up and started roaming around the office. As usual, she would look really friendly but when my colleagues tried to carry her, she will start bawling. I’m glad I brought Tara along, cos she got more angbaos! Boss even gave her one on company’s account. She made a neat profit of $70 just by standing there and looking cute. Hehe… Cheryl even got Tara to pick out 4D numbers. That woman, never miss any chance. Hehe.

At about 11am, we gathered at the factory to “lao yu sheng” and have the buffet. Tara refused to let me out of sight, and followed me whenever I go. I can’t even eat anything. The factory wasn’t the safest place for kids. One moment I was scooping the mee siam, another moment, I heard her crying. She fell down and hit her cheek on the table stand.

After the buffet, we went to the recreation room. A big bunch of my colleagues were playing poker and my sales manager and account colleague was pitching each other on a game of pool. Oh yah, we have a recreation room in the office. There’s mahjong, pool, caram and even karaoke. Boss even brought his dog, Momo. He said it’s the year of dog so he wanted Momo to walk around and “heng” the factory.

After a game of pool, which I lost to my China colleague, and a few hands of poker, I left the office at around 1pm. Cheryl ferried me to HarbourFront where I deposited Tara’s angbao money and met Sis and my niece, Shermaine. We took the north-east line to Seng Kang. I had wanted to go Compass Mall ever since the day of Talia’s birthday party.

Quite a nice place for shopping, nice baby room, big kiddy palace. If only they have hot water facilities as well. We had lunch at Jack’s place and shopped for a further 2 hours before we left for home. We took the train back to HarbourFront. Walked out of the station and saw the 12 horoscope animals figuures, made from plum flowers (I think). Sis, Shermaine, me and Tara each took photos with our own horoscope. The cutest one was the Monkey, Tara’s horoscope, which was hanging on the pillar. Sis arms were aching from trying to lift Tara nearer to the Monkey so I can take a shot. I even took photos of Dad, Bob & Bro’s horoscope.

At the BIG Jurong Point with Tara

I admit I spent less time with Tara when my in-laws are around. The only excuse I give is these are the times can catch up on my own stuff. After being out for almost one whole week, I decided that I shall dedicate one afternoon to my little precious.

I brought her to Jurong Point last Saturday! Okay, for selfish reasons, I wanted to check out the newly opened extension of Jurong Point too. So we went to a shopping mall rather than places like zoo or park.

I parked in their super big carpark at the new extension. Gone are the worries of full carpark. Jurong Point is always darn crowded. But now there are 1,500 lots.

We stepped into the new extension and my jaw dropped. Then my heart pounded. After that I broke into a huge grin. It’s SO BIG! There are SO MANY SHOPS! Clothes and shoes especially. And I saw quite a few of my favourites. Mphosis, Bakerzin, Din Tai Feng, Pretty Fit, Faceshop etc. Now I don’t need to go to town for shopping!

Jules finally got her shops in Jurong Point, after telling me and Wendy for years. Her Freshbox is her baby. The JP one is one of her many outlets peppered all over Singapore. And her newly conceived concept, Camouflage! Clothes for kiddos. She told me she wanted to open a shop for kiddo’s clothes about a year ago and she finally did it. I went in the other day, and saw Old Navy style clothings for boys. Not much choices for girls though, but she said stock for girls will be in before CNY. Okay babe, will shop there for Tara’s CNY clothes. Must support friend lor. Proud of this woman lar. She’s the budding entrepreneur with Freshbox (Clothes for men), Mitju (Ladies shoes) and now Camouflage under her name. She has a couple of other shops too, but these are the bigger ones. Whenever I see this woman in one of her shops, her first opening sentence “Eh! Why you never call me??”. Babe, you can call me too you know? And her ending sentence is always, “Let’s come out for dinner someday leh! Ask Wendy along?”. Babe, I think you are the super busy one right? How to have dinner when you don’t have time? This woman.

Tara and I went up to 3rd level of the new JP and saw one craft shop. I don’t know what you call this type of craft. I’ve seen them all over the place and wanted to let Tara try, just waiting for her to be big enough not to make a mess. So we finally went in that day. She wanted to do a multi colour house.

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Nowadays, she’s always bugging me to bring her back again. She wanted to do a Powerpuff one. Okay baby, Mummy is also aiming to do a butterfly one. Pink of course!

Then we went to Bakerzin. I had wanted to have my dose of my favourite Strawberry Shortcake (that explains my excitement at seeing this restaurant), but sadly, they don’t have it that day. So I just let Tara enjoyed her cheesecake while I look on.

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The feeling of seeing my little girl enjoying her food is indescribable.

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My little girly girl.

She must be really happy to have Mummy to herself for the whole afternoon because she was so well-behaved. She let me shop in peace, never for once bugging me to leave the mall. We even went to the library, since it was just beside. And I paid $30 over worth of fines. It’s crazy but I just forgot to return the 12 books I borrowed for Tara some time back. I think they were overdue by many weeks. Madness! I can buy so many things with that! Must be really conscious of the due date from now onwards.

A well spent one lazy afternoon in the mall with Tara.

Oh ya, the well-behaved part stopped when we were driving out of the mall. She started mumbling, then grumbling and finally broke into a full crying episode when we stepped out from the lift to our apartment. *Faint*.

I will be back in JP another day. By myself. At my own pace. On one day’s leave maybe. And really check out the shops inside this mega mall, one by one. Excitement.

 

Parent-Teacher Meetings

* Back-dated post: Found this long draft today. I wonder why I didn’t post this up? I wrote this end of last year, when Tara was about to progress from Playgroup to Nursery.
 
I’m not sure if other day care hold as many meetings as this one. Yesterday, I attended the fourth parents-teachers meeting. I’m not complaining though. I wish to be as involved as possible, and I’m really glad that the school’s holding these meetings to keep the parents up to date on their kids.

Let me see, the first meeting I went to, Tara was only in school for 3 months. As newbies, they got a lot to adapt to, and the teachers gave us updates of how the little ones are getting on and how they have adapted to the new environment.

The second meeting, we (Bob and I) were involved in the activities that the kids do day to day. We sang with them the songs they learned, did art and craft together. I ate an egg sandwich made by my little girl and she even served us milo! At that time, my heart was just bursting with pride, and I was so touched I almost tear. That was 6 months since she attended school.

The 3rd meeting, was the first time that we did a one-to-one. Not like the group meetings before, this one was just us with the teachers. The teachers spoke at length about about Tara. Their observations about her and such. How has she grown, the vast improvement in her languange, how she interact socially. I even know how well she slept during breaks! I was able to ask a lot of questions and it was really a productive meeting for me.

And this 4th meeting, held just last night, was a whole different one. Tara has been attending daycare for 11 months already (God! Time flies!) and she will be advancing to Nursery next year. This meeting was an introduction to her Nursery teachers (different set of teachers for each level). There will be 55 children in Nursery next year, but there are 6 teachers and 1 auntie taking care of the whole brood. 4 English teachers and 2 Chinese teachers. The English teacher touched on the program they will be teaching next year. What kind of approach they will be applying. How the kids will benefit. And how the parents can play a part in further reinforcing the teachings.

During the whole briefing by 2 of the teachers, I was nodding my head so much I’m surprised I didn’t sprain my neck. I’m so glad (I think I said that before), that I managed to find a school which is totally in tune with my beliefs and expectations.

Basically, next year’s program will still be adpoting a thematic approach, but it won’t be structured, like it was in playgroup. The teachers will see how the children will react to a particular subject or theme before they map out what they will teach the next class or next term. Instead of telling the kids what something is, for example, an ant. They don’t say, this is an ant, it has how many legs, simply throwing facts at the kids not knowing if they absorb anything. The Creative teaches will instead, guide the kids through their thinking process, and kids at this imaginative stage, will spurn out lots of funny and interesting thinking. For example, the ant. The teacher will ask, what do you think this is? Where do you think it’s going? Where does it come from? Do you think the ant has a home? Where do you think it’s home is? Through these, the teachers will spark the kids’ interest in the ant and whatever the teachers will tell them later, they will absorb with relish. The K1 students actually managed to write a book about a monkey. Imagine that!

The teachers heard about this monkey which somehow ended up in the Creative grounds, they grouped the kids together and wanted to bring them to see the monkey, but the monkey was caught and sent away before the kids laid eyes on it. They were so interested in the monkey and the teachers, through the who, what, where, when and how, guide them into writing a story about this monkey they didn’t see.

This is what I usually do with Tara. I read from somewhere that parents should always put the kids in a thinking process and ask them back the same question they ask you. For a kid who always get answers straightaway, they lose the opportunity of thinking and they also lose the interest in that object, thus losing the chance to learn more about that object.

And at Nursery level, the teachers concern is not on how many words the kids can learn at the end of the year, how well they can write and read, how pretty their drawings are or how nice they can do their colouring. Their concerns are more on building the kids’ character (something that I’ve been emphasizing on from the day I gave birth to Tara), their social interaction skills, and self help skills.

The Chinese teacher said something which I agreed totally, she said most people will say, don’t lose at the starting point. But to her, it’s no big deal losing at the starting point, education is a long road, what matter most is you win at the finishing point. She actually is saying, don’t be kiasu and make your kids learn a lot of things they are not ready for.