Monday, 26 April 2010

A Life Without Passions

A colleague commented that I was very thrifty today.

She was surprised to see me carrying my bag which had a snapped strap, since at least 2 weeks ago.

I told her that mothers are like that - you thrift on yourself, but spend on your kids.

I also used another ex-colleague as an example, but she protested that that ex-colleague indulged in bags.

I immediately told her,"I'm not crazy about bags."

I did a quick thinking on the spot, and tried to think about something I really like and would indulge in, and I found that I didn't have anything I was passionate about!

I told her,"I'm not crazy about anything."

On my way home, I thought about our conversation. I tried to think of something I would splurge on ie. shoes, clothes, bags, hair and I couldn't think of any! I tried to think of my favourite food, and I realised that I really don't have anything I must eat in particular! I like chicken, but it's more of 'there isn't anything better' than 'I love it'.

I realised that I actually feel guilty buying anything for myself. Whatever I buy, it almost always has a functional value to someone I love. I thought it somewhat sad to come to such a realisation. I had heard about such people ie. feel guilty about buying things for themselves and I used to think that they were really weird. I thought I would never experience this since I was a very self-centred person and I would do everything I like to please just myself.

How strange things have become quite the opposite!

I used to like clothes at Mango, but ever since I had Coco, I stopped going there to buy clothes as it proved to be too pricey for me when I first had her. Then when I had a better job, I realised that the clothes were no longer suitable for me. It looked to me like they had a different designer and was targeting at a different market. The style was completely different from when they first came onto the scene.

I used to like to shop at Urban & Co. I am quite petite in size and it is difficult to find clothes that fit me to a tee, until I found Urban & Co. When I loved their clothes and shop there, new outlets kept sprouting up. Then it seemed they too had a change in designers or something equivalent. The clothes no longer fitted my conservative taste. I stopped going there. Now they are completely gone it seems.

I'm not quite sure which is true: that I don't delight in spending on myself, or I don't have anything I fancy. It doesn't sound even human does it? A chatfriend commented that it's very unwoman to not like shopping. I guess I've been busy with my job and kids, especially Coco's studies, that I don't even have time to stop to think about my likes and dislikes.

The chatfriend said,"You should rediscover yourself."

Now, where do I start 'rediscovering' myself from?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

No hope. No disappointment

Town Council sent me a lawyer's letter about the unpaid service and conservancy bill since last November.

I'd cleared the accumulated backlog of more than a thousand dollars last year. I almost wanted to file a divorce because I saw no reason to be with this man. Instead of him supporting me, I'm supporting him, on top of the kids.

I woke up at 5.30am today. The first thought that came to my mind was what TV compere Quan Yifong said,"我对这段婚姻没有希望,也没有失望。" The first time I heard her say this, I still had a lot of disappointments with my marriage. It's only when you harbour hopes of salvaging the marriage that you experience disappointments. When you no longer harbour hopes nor disappointments, it only means that your heart has died away where the marriage is concerned.

I'm beginning to understand and empathise what she said. He has disappointed me so greatly there isn't a bigger disappointment that goes beyond.

I've told him that I will no longer bother with what he does. Neither will he meddle with my affairs. He's free to do what he likes, and I will be free to pursue my own happiness, no matter what form it takes. Even if it is in the form of infedelity, being a nil responsible husband, he has no right to question me, because the marriage has reached the end of the road.

The 'unconditional' clause cannot apply to me. To explain what this statement means: he has told me that I should not be conditional in the marriage, meaning I should support him in whatever he does. And I mean 'whatever'.

That's rubbish!

Why didn't I ever stop to think that he's spouting rubbish for his own selfish, personal benefit?

I was hoping to find the full quote of what Quan Yifong said about her marriage, and I was directed to a few links that suggested that her husband was a gambler, too. She too, was the main breadwinner of the family.

There was wisdom in our forefathers' belief and management of their marriage.

They believed that women should stay home and look after children, and the husband should shoulder the responsibility of feeding the family.

That was also the recipe of long-lasting marriages.

Women have natural maternal instinct. After having children, we cannot be there for them, and we too have to take up the responsibility of supporting the family. But men's role continues to be one that is of a traditional one, except that his burden is halved, while the women's role is doubled. Sooner or later, resentment will set in.

I'm not sure how many women really want to be superwomen ie. to be homemaker cum breadwinner. But if I can do that on my own, I really don't need a man.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Coco's birthday celebration - Part II

We celebrated Coco's birthday in two folds ie. one day at Universal Studio and the next at home with the family.

I ordered the cake from Pine Garden and specifically asked for decorative figurines that they have as I had placed order just 3 days in advance. I wouldn't have the time to source for figurines. The last I asked last week, they had Hello Kitty and Sesame Street characters. Coco opted for Sesame Street.

After rushing home from school to pick out the cake and flavours, which is Lychee Martini without the Martini, Pine Garden called me just the day before the celebration to confirm the order. And guess what? I didn't even go down to the shop to place my deposit!

Everything was confirmed via a phonecall when I was in Universal Studio. And the cake turned up at my doorstep at 5.30pm when I had opted for a 6 to 7pm slot. Everything was nicely done. I'm impressed. Imagine - I just needed to order the cake via email. That's what I call value-added service as a result of advanced technology.

The close-up

Looking pleased with her presents

Lower weightage of MT in PSLE

There's been another big hoo-ha over academic matters in Singapore: the lowering of weightage of Mother Tongue at PSLE.

Parents whose children are strong in Mother Tongue, especially Chinese, I suspect, are objecting vehemently to the suggestion.

An online petition is set up here, and the content is as such:

To Minister-of-Education,

Subject: Weighting for Mother Tongue in PSLE should not be cut

Dear Sir,

We refer to the article "Mother tongue weighting in PSLE could be cut" published in The Strait Times dated 21 April 2010. (

We think that the weighting for Mother Tongue in PSLE should not be cut, reasons being:

(1) Our younger generation will think that Mother Tongue is not an important subject and thus will not be as willing and motivated to learn and to master it.

(2) Mother languages taught in Primary School level is of acceptable difficulty and it is needed for reading and conversing. Reducing the weighting of Mother Tongue in PSLE might deprive the students the ability to converse and to read in their Mother Tongue effectively, as it's importance is not stressed in the PSLE level.

(3) We believe all subjects examined in the PSLE level are moderated accordingly. The PSLE system should reward those who are willing to work hard and excel in their Mother Tongue subject, instead of punishing them with the reduce of weighting in PSLE.

We understand that some of our younger generation have difficulty in mastering their Mother Tongue. However, we do believe that reducing the weighting of Mother Tongue in PSLE is not the solution for this problem and we urge you to reconsider the consequences the change might bring to our future generations.

Yours faithfully,

Added by: inn0cent on April 23, 2010, 12:51:46 pm


***(2) Mother TONGUE languages taught in Primary School level is of acceptable difficulty and it is needed for reading and conversing. Reducing the weighting of Mother Tongue in PSLE might deprive the students the ability to converse and to read in their Mother Tongue effectively, as it's importance is not stressed in the PSLE level.

I'm rather relieved to read of this piece of news. I hope the change can come soon so that Coco can benefit from it. Coco's Chinese is not as strong as I had hoped she could become within a short span of time. I'm not sure if she could become a smooth writer 1.5 years later when she's due to take her PSLE. It's been quite stressful worrying about her performance in Chinese bringing her overall score down, although she's not stellar in her Maths and Science either. However, she seems more daunted by the learning of Chinese than the rest of the subjects. The worst thing that can happen to a learner is to develop a fear for the subject. When there is fear, you will almost never succeed at it. If you ever do, the journey is of an arduous one.

I can only say that I am really glad that such a proposal was never in place during my time. If not, I would surely have been banished to the Normal Stream. Our education system is an unforgiving one. You just have to do badly for one crucial exam and your deal is either over or you will need to spend an awful lot more time than your peers who had succeeded to reach the 'finishing line'.

What Parents Should Not Say

I chanced upon this book in kiasuparents forum.

Being a parent is an ever-learning experience. There are so many times I know I've said words I shouldn't, out of anger or impulse. But sometimes, I really don't know if the words should be spoken or kept within. This is a very good guide on the words that shouldn't be said to a child - loosely translated as A Word Parents Should Not Say.

01 你怎么这么笨 - Why are you so stupid?
I'm guilty of commiting this crime, although I tried to rephrase it by substituting the word 'stupid' with the label of a group of slow-learners in general.

02 连我的话都不听 - You don't even listen to me!

03 为什么别人行,你就不行 - Why can't you do it like others can?

04 怎么不说话了,哑巴了 - Why aren't you answering me? Have you turned mute?

05 你聋了?听不见我说的话 - Are you deaf? Can't you hear what I'm saying?

06 我没有你这样的儿子 - I do not have a son like you.

07 是我没本事,不能…… - I'm incapable/incompetence to provide you with ...
Very guilty.

08 妈妈求你了 - Please, Mummy beg of you
Slightly guilty.

09 滚吧.想去哪里就去哪里 - Go away! Just go wherever you want to go.
I say,"You can do whatever you want to do and Mummy won't be bothered about you anymore." Oops! It sounds worse, doesn't it?

10 再哭,让狼把你叼走 - Stop crying, or the wolf is coming for you.

11 看我不打死你 - I'm going to beat you to death.

12 这么大了还尿床 - Why do you wet your bed? You're such a big child now, for goodness' sake!

13 算了吧,你不是那块料 - Forget it. You're just not cut out for it.

14 这个玩具应该这样玩 - This toy should be played this way.

15 不要逞能,你还小着呢 - Don't force it. You're too young for this.

16 别缠着我 - Stop coming to me all the time!

17 都怪椅子,我们打它 - It's the chair's fault. Let's beat the chair.
Oh dear! This is what I always tell Baby whenever she knocks herself against something.

18 等你爸爸回来,看他怎么收拾你 - When your father returns, he's going to teach you a lesson.

19 雪糕吃多了,肚子里要生虫子的 - You'll have worms in your stomach if you eat too much ice-cream.

20 我像你这么大的时候…… - When I was your age ...
Goodness! I said this to Coco many many times!

21 磨蹭什么呀,急死人了 - Why are you dilly-dallying? It's exasperating!

22 不要给我丢脸 - Don't disgrace me.

23 要是没有你该多好 - How wonderful if I never had you!

24 哟,真是太阳从西边出来了 - My my! The sun has risen from the west!

25 为什么,为什么,哪有那么多为什么 - Why, why, why! Why do you have so many 'whys'?

26 不准失败 - Do not fail.

27 我让你赢一次 - I'll let you win once.

28 你这个懒虫,从来都不帮我做点事 - You're such a lazy pig. You've never offered your help.

29 还敢顶嘴 - You have the cheek to retaliate.

30 你这个忘恩负义的东西! - You ingrate!

31 大人说话,小孩不许插嘴 - Do not interrupt when adults are talking.

32 不准哭 - Stop crying.

33 住嘴 - Shut up!

34 你学习去吧,其他事不用你管 - Just go and study. Don't worry about the rest of the things.

35 像你这个样子,长大了只有捡垃圾 - At the rate you're going, you're going to be a rubbish-collector when you grow up.
I've said something like that, about her not going to do well at PSLE.

36 光音乐学得好,有什么用?- What's the point of being good in music?

37 如果考100分,我就奖励10块钱 - I will reward you with $10 if you manage to get 100 marks for your exam.
Many parents have testified that the reward system does motivate children to perform and I too have been skewed towards this extrinsic motivational method.

38 不错不错,很好很好!Not bad, not bad. Very good, very good!
Oh dear, what's wrong with this statement? Isn't it supposed to be encouraging?

39 这个老师的水平太差了 - This teacher is lousy.
Oh yes, I've always tried to refrain from commenting on the standard of her teachers because I've seen how children stop learning when their parents criticise teachers in front of the children.

40 老毛病又犯了?- You're back to your old habit again.

41 不要难过,明天就会好了 - Don't be sad. Everything will be alright tomorrow.

42 你是全世界最美的女孩 - You're the most beautiful girl in the whole world.
Yes, this I know. It'll disillusion the child when she realises that others may not think so.

43 你胖得像头猪 - You're as fat as a pig.

44 你怎么这么不懂事…… - Why are you so insensible?

45 你以前很乖,现在越大越不听话了。- You used to be a very obedient child, but you're not so anymore.
I say this to Coco so many times!

46 你竟敢用这种态度跟妈妈讲话 - How dare you adopt such a tone/attitude when you talk to me!

47 如果你下次再这样做…… - If you do this again ...

48 你做这种事真让我伤透了心 - You've broken my heart by doing this.
Oh dear, I've said this many times too! I thought it was good to pour out my heart to Coco and let her know how and why she had hurt me.

49 你脸皮真厚,要是我,早找个地缝钻进去了 - You have such thick skin. If it were me, I would have dug a hole in the ground and hidden myself in it.

50 你总是丢三落四,怎么没把人给弄丢了 - You're always losing things. Why don't you lose yourself too?
I say the first part of the statement whenever Coco loses her things.

51 是爸爸好,还是妈妈好 - Who is better - daddy or mummy?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, there's no comparison, and I never have to ask such a question.

52 胆小鬼,怕什么 - You're such a scaredy cat. What's there to be afraid of?

53 来,让算命先生给你算一卦 - Let's take a look at your fortune.

54 你早该知道这样做不对 - You should have known that this isn't the right thing to do.
I am guilty of saying this whenever Coco commits a mistake.

55 你早知道那样做才对 - You should have known that that was the right thing to do.

56 算了!下带你去了 - Alright, I'll take you there later on.
Er ... I don't see the problem with this.

57 你真是成事不足败事有余 - You are really capable at failing, aren't you?

58 他打你,你怎么不打他 - He's beaten you? Beat him back!
Haha, I had said this to Coco too! I thought that it's better to bully than to be bullied, like her timid mother.

I like the Chinese version of 'Children learn what they live':


If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn


If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight


If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive


If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy

The full English version is found here.


A word can change the life of a child.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Celebration of Coco's birthday - Part I

We finally went Universal Studio after months (March and April) of anticipation!
It was to celebrate Coco's birthday that I decided to take the kids there, together with her favourite best friend M and her cousin Xavy.

The biggest carpark I ever saw

We only realised that Universal Studio opens at 9am on the very day. Although we reached there at 10am, I'd overlooked the rule of 'No food from elsewhere' and we had to finish eating Coco's cake outside the venue. I thought the tone of the manager or whoever could be milder - "I know it's your daughter's birthday. I know you want to celebrate with her, but no food is allowed." By the time we got in, it was already 11am.

A must-take picture at the entrance

I'm actually very impressed that most people there are civilised and nice. From the look of the photo, you wouldn't be able to imagine that there were tons of people waiting to take pictures of the globe. The truth is: everybody was just hanging around, waiting for a brief opportunity to take a picture. And most people would just move away if anyone moved close to the globe just so that the person could be able to take a picture with the globe, exclusively! Of course, it doesn't work this way all the time. But most people there have a common understanding that we are there to have fun and not to create frustration.

Coco wanted a photo cake of herself and her best friend. Polar Cakes allows a short notice of just 3 days in advance and could give us the smallest possible size (half a kg). Prima Deli needed a minimum of 1kg and needed 4 days' notice. You can even tell them how much of the photo you want the print to show.

The map

Entering Universal Studio, with our computer-printout tickets

Another must-take picture at Madagasca

The queue for Puss in Boots was quite short

Our 2nd station: Far Far Away

Enchanted Airways is supposed to be a junior roller coaster, but the timid me didn't dare to take.

While in the queue for the ride, you get to be entertained by posters related to the ride, and according to my sister, something is played over a speaker to keep you occupied for a short while. There are also fans in the crazy queue for better ventilation.

Before they went ...

Up the slope

Xavy was so frightened he bawled loudly, with tears streaked all over his cheeks, while on the ride

We were so busy comforting Xavy that I missed taking pictures of Shrek's castle. We were almost shoved into the 4D theatre without knowing what it was about. We were asked to put on this green-framed glasses when we went in. The first room featured a small tv on which it showed what happened in Shrek 1 and 2. I thought it was boring and didn't understand what the glasses were for as I could see things better without them. I told my sister that it was boring and if we could get out of there. Then the doors to the 'chamber' opened and it was then that we realised the real thing hadn't begun yet!

There was an announcement saying that flash photographers will be hung on stage. I didn't use flash but as the donkey sneezed, a slight drizzle came falling on my camera! Twice!

The 4D glasses worn for the show

It was a new experience for us. Most people wouldn't understand what 4D means. It basically means having the 3D effect (the characters and props eg. the sharp end of the spear, look like they are popping out from the screen) coupled with the realistic effects of having bristles brushing your legs from under the chair (when spiders are shown on screen), and your seat getting jolted continuously or suddenly when the characters are riding on a horse-driven carriage or being thrown off.

The exit led to this place 'Godmother's Potion Shop', where fruit juices, sweetened artificially I think, are sold.

This merry-go-round is right inside the Potion Shop. From afar, it looked too small to be functional. I thought it was ornamental!

I hid under the armpit to minimise the squinting because of the glaring sun

We had lunch at the food court. Had to wait for 30 minutes before we reached the stalls. And the food sucks.

A dinosaur skeleton replica of Night at the Museum's dino

Presenting to you ... the worst bak kut teh and the worst chicken rice in Singapore! And the 4 horrible-tasting plates of normal chicken rice and 1 bowl of bak kut teh cost a whopping $50.60!

3rd station: The Lost World

The only rides, out of the two, I took, with Xavy. Even then, I was a little worried that the dino carriage might collapse. Yes, I'm paranoid. I don't trust machines lah.

This looks fun, but I still didn't dare to try

4th station: Ancient Egypt The second ride I took, after queueing for 40 minutes. It's a ride fit for a 3-year-old.

I like the way they dress up the souvenir shops.

We went back to The Lost World for the 4.30pm show

The actions are similar to the 80s Hong Kong films. Good guys versus Baddies. Lots of fighting, shooting, explosions, stunts, all by ang mohs.

The seats at the auditorium are clearly labelled. The first few rows are labelled 'Totally wet'. The next few rows, 'Slightly wet'. I was shocked to see a caucasian man holding a gun squirt, squirting water on whoever he deemed fit! So that was how they got people wet! I went up the rows to the seats that would not get wet for the benefit of my camera.

We took some dino egg pics here.
A souvenir shop in Ancient Egypt
There were too many people. Couldn't get an unblocked shot of this.

At the exit of Ancient Egypt and moving on to Sci-Fi City

5th station: Sci-Fi City

The kids went wild when they saw the Accelerator

It's basically teacups that spin round and round

6th station: New York

I like antique cars

Last station: Hollywood

There is a souvenir-cum-accessories shop that generously allows visitors to put on the array of hats for picture-taking

At a candy shop

Snack stop

A Popcorn car for Coco at the exit of Hollywood

I think we'll be back - for more photos, and we haven't even tried the 'Crate Adventure' at Madagasca yet!

Universal Studio opens from 9am to 6pm, although it was still open at 7pm since the crowd was still lingering around. I think you really need to go there at 9am to enjoy the place to its fullest. At 11am, it was abit late and we found ourselves rushing abit, missed out on the shows, and the rides. To catch all the shows and rides, it'll be good to do a bit of research on what attractions there are at each place. We didn't and we missed out quite alot - the majority of attractions and photo-taking I would say. So I would certainly go back there again, probably in December.