Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Happy No Tobacco Day, if there's anything to be happy about this one day.

As I watch this man cradle lifeless baby Martin, as though he's just fallen asleep from a day of harmless play and joyous laughter, I find it difficult and honestly, impossible to comprehend the happenings of this world.

Men, women, children and babies struggle to survive in peace amidst the endless chaos of selfish gains, while social media greets me with "Happy No Tobacco Day".

I guess we should learn to appreciate every single bit of good we have, to make sense of anything nowadays. Great job to those who don't smoke and even better job to those who do smoke and choose skip one day of burning.

Hopefully, those working in lush tobacco fields will get one day of rest too, without having to risk their rice bowl for the day.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Birthdays in pictures: 2015


We never celebrated birthdays when we were little. My granny said eating birthday cakes would make us naughty. It probably is an old wives' tales, but all kids grow up a little naughty, if not, cheeky.

Naturally, I got quite accustomed to not celebrating my birthday too. The act of huddling around a person and a cake with flames on it, while others sing in unison seems like what a cult would do. That goes for campfires too. I can only imagine a murderer lurking in the dark, preying and choosing his/ her first victim.

When my family starting celebrating birthdays, I simply went along, because it seems like that's what they'd want.

You see, motherhood is such an odd thing. It changed so much I knew about myself, sometimes I no longer know this person. Is it an obsession or simply love?

2nd November 2012 was the day I first met Emma. I was so caught up with the pulses of pain, I couldn't and didn't make sense of anything. The pain went on for 8 hours. Finally, I was told my hips are apparently too small to expand any further. A natural delivery was not possible. Mask on, Epidural up and I was in a blur. Fast-forward three years, Emma has grown into a little lady who calls Julia as 'my Julia'.

31st October 2014. This date was chosen by a Fengshui master. If I brought up Julia well, she could be a 官 or official, he said. I hope we're doing alright. Brendan said he didn't want Julia to be a Halloween baby, but I'm too Chinese to care about dressing up and children with their sugar rush. She has been nothing close to horror, but she's cheeky and always up for play with Emma.

Emma and Julia clearly love each other very much. They roll around in bed and that's good enough to get giggles out of them.

Their birthdays not only make the day they were born. Their birthdays are also my day; the anniversary of how many years I've had this role.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

What's our beef with single parent families?

After reading Carrie's post about single-parent-families, I was left thinking about how I got here, or rather, how I didn't become a single parent. 

Let's start at the beginning.

It was around April 2012, when I discovered I was pregnant. I didn't know if I should keep the baby, before I got to how and when to tell my parents. 

Pregnancy happens when an egg is fertilised by a sperm. That's it. It takes two parties for this to happen, whether either party is willing or not. When I got pregnant, I couldn't stop crying and I realised why one day. It wasn't the guilt of killing of my own child that going to kill me, it was the thought of not being with it. That's when I decided I'd keep it, or we'll end everything together. 

As it turns out, deciding to keep the baby was the easiest decision for me. Endless comments about expensive diapers and formula never stopped coming from my mother. There was so much pressure from other family members too, about making a decision. 

I almost gave up. 

I weighed my options; marriage or single-parenthood. Money was the last concern on my mind. It'd work out financially, if I try hard and smart enough. I didn't and couldn't let my child grow up with stigma of having a single mother. Our society is hard and selfish. Maybe we're getting kinder, I wouldn't know for sure. I became selfish. I didn't want my struggle to be my daughter's struggle. 

I don't know how many of such marriages like mine ended up in divorce. I don't know if mine will turn out that way too. Although I've never been happier in my life, I have made a lot of sacrifices and lead a life very different from my peers.

If you can't deal with parenthood now, be smart about your actions. 

If unexpected events happen and you're left in this position, deal with it. No one else can do it for you.

Bottom line, pregnancy is a reaction to actions and parenthood is a responsibility. Marriage, pregnancy and parenthood are three co-related, but completely different things. 

Learn from my mistake. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Easy Meatballs

This is a simple, basic recipe for meatballs, which can be easily spruced up with spices and sauces. Serve it over pasta or with roasted vegetables for a complete meal. Western recipes tend to use breadcrumbs to hold the meatballs together, while Asian recipes opt for cornstarch for the same purpose.

Serves: 2, Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon of olive il
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 500 grams ground meat
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon (1/8 block) of SCS Butter, Unsalted
  1. Place ground meat in a blender or food processer. 
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium pan and sauté onions till tender and clear. Transfer cooled onions into blender.
  3. Blend onions, ground meat and egg for 1 minute. 
  4. Spoon balls of meat mixture into pan with medium heat and cook for 7 - 9 minutes on 2 sides till juices run clear. 
  • Eggless version: mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoon of water. Set aside for 1 hour before using. 
  • Mixing the meat mixture in a single direction allows the mixture to create layers, resulting in meatballs that hold their shape better. 
  • Double the recipe and store cooked meatballs in the freezer for meals on busy nights. Defrost in microwave on high for 3 minutes or bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. 
  • One-pot pasta: Cook meatballs for 3 minutes on 2 sides, throw in uncooked pasta and pasta sauce. Add enough water to cover everything and simmer until pasta is cooked. 
This is one of my recipes created with SCS Butter. For on-going contests and more, check out Bubbamama.com.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wearing the wrong clothes.

2007: Me (centre) with awesome people 

With Nickelback blasting and the recent passing of our grandfather, I still can't shake off this nagging thought.

When news broke of how a poor family's hopes for their daughter to embark on a career of healing was robbed by a group of intoxicated men, my insides burned with anger and indignation. Over a year later, during the interview of one of those sick men, this line of "wearing the wrong clothes" hit a nerve too close.

I was 16. It was a sleepy quiet Saturday morning and I was en route to Newton Station for my track training. Most would take the seat beside the glass panel in a bid to sneak in a little nap. I liked that seat because it meant only one side would be exposed to strangers. A Chinese man old enough to be my father, dressed in a yellow fluorescent jersey seated himself next to me. That was an odd move, considering how there were less than 10 in that section of the train. I brushed it off. He started to nod off, as though he was falling asleep, leaning closer to me. Soon, he began man-spreading. Only when it felt like something was definitely off, I had just realised the train was approaching Novena Station and I stood up immediately. That was the moment he placed his filthy hand on my upper thigh. Gravity don't push things up. In the few mintues of waiting for the City-bound train to arrive, he stood at the mid-section of the staircase, watching me.

I was 16, in my school's PE tee shirt and shorts. You'd be able to guess how old I was.

I was 20. The afternoon sun shone brightly through the glass of Wheelock Place. Standing on the upwards escalator, I noticed a bright flash in the reflection at the glass sides of the escalator. I looked behind and asked what he was doing. He took off and all I could remember was a black cap, black tee shirt, blue jeans and that black sling bag. It took me a couple of minutes to register all that. There were others around too. Did they not see anything? I made a police report and waited alone by the main entrance for the police. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life. Blur surveillance footage and vague description proved to be as useful as mug with a hole. He was old enough to be my brother.

I was 20, in a mini-dress in broad daylight in a busy shopping district.

Was I wearing the wrong clothes?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Emma & Julia, 

Today, we have lost a great man. 

Today, the blue blooms on my skirt and my pink shoes don't make me smile on the inside and outside. 

Today, the rare occasion of having a sugar-laden prata breakfast doesn't make this morning good. 

One day, you both will know about this man and what he has done for us. In all possible ways, he has outdone many of us. He did what every student should do, learn and excel academically. He met the love of his life and married her, before graduating university together. They stuck together, through thick and thin, and later had three children. When his wife fell ill, he encouraged her to swim daily in a bid for her to nurse her health. He sacrificed time with his children to a cause dedicated his life to; building a safe home for us. 

Hopefully one day, you both will meet a man as great as him and work together for better tomorrows.

'For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama's, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life.'

your mommy.