Feb 15, 2015

A good year ahead

Clean house. Good year.

- Ancient Chinese Belief

As the Lunar New Year arriving soon, the focus for most of us begin with cleaning and decorating, from each's threshold into drawers and cupboards. Jolly, the house would be de-cluttered determinedly, cleaned sparkly and decorated with all sort of lucky symbols to usher the family in a prosperous Chinese New Year. Dirt, residue, negative attitudes, unpleasant words and disrespect are to be swept before or after the celebration.

Along with the clean house, I suppose one's mind must also be refresh and optimistic. Only honeyed thoughts should come out of one's mouth, and the little minds are not reprimanded or scolded during the celebration period. 

Cleaned shelter, honeyed thoughts inject positivity from one to another. And so we all prosperously embarking into a good year. 

Here, I am not going to tell you how my physical house being cleaned up significantly. What is more meaningful, in my opinion is, cleaning up the house of my soul from last year. I started of jotting down things in a year I plan to do since last year. I felt that it solidified the year for me to live on: purposefully, happily. So, here I am again, wrapping up 2014, which I believe it would help to led me to another meaningful year of 2015. Planning for the year is all over the place. 

  1. I had been cooking a lot more than before. Sometimes, I can even handle a meal for 6! The routine kicks in so naturally now that, I hardly hear my girls mention about dining out.
  2. I jogged regularly, kept sickness at bay.
  3. I've saved up the money according to the plan. The question is, what's next!
  4. Together with sc and little bomber, we cafe-hopping whenever we had time and had fun throughout the year.
  5. I had a great trip with my good old friends in Bangkok.

Look back, it was a great year! Fruitful and fun! I got sick very little the entire year! And I learn that not all cafes are skilful enough to brew an excellent cup of coffee. Even though we didn't travel far last year, but our trip back to Penang and Malacca were not any less fun compare to other oversea trips of ours. Locally, we discovered Venus Loop of MacRitchie and Duxton Hill, Duxton Road excellent fun for little family like us to hang out. 

On top of the above, my very wonderful husband is also a great father, took over in coaching our elder daughter's study as well as wrapping himself for the tumult, keeping my sanity.

Speaking of Jiejie and her studies, science in particular, we tried but could not reason her scientifically. She struggled, and screeched. Right before her SA II last year, we decided to send her for help with one experienced ex-teacher, Catherine. She began to gauge the concept, learn the thinking skill and progressed well since then. 

Beyond academic, I snuggle my tumultuous, soon-to-be-teen daughter a lot more these days. It dawns at me that we have not been close to each other for a long time. Partly because little Little Bomber demanded a lot of my presence, my cuddling and hugging times went to her more than jiejie. Now that Little Bomber is a toddler herself and less clingy, the big sister on the other hand seems lost in her emotional roller coaster. Sometime, I don't seem to recognise my own daughter. I zip my mouth more these days, instead of pitching my voice louder than hers. There is no point in talking or screaming while she is emotionally disturbed. Usually SC and I would reconcile with her when she calms down thereafter. I would give her a tight hug, reassuring my love. I hope I am doing the right thing. I hope this is just an another phrase for me to go through as a mother. 

So what's for 2015? As I am wrapping up my 2014, I am now with a refreshing year...

I intend to take up a sewing project, or maybe two. I have not been sewing, only mending some apparels and upholstery in the past year. After seeing many inspirations from other mom-bloggers, and do a little more research, I am targeting this and hoping to complete it beautifully.

Our family of four will be embarking a trip to UK. While searching information on interesting places to visit, I learnt the difference among England, Great Britain and United Kingdom. It slowly led me to read about the Monarchy and its history. I have been hooked on the documentary about British Royal family's history during my daily transit. Besides learnt about the unsuccessful attempt to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Queen Mary, I was intrigued by my elder daughter and learnt that King Arthur is a legend and folklore of a Celtic king who fought to defend Britain from Saxon invaders in the 6th century.

As a result of reading so much about England/Britain/United Kingdow, SC and I have selected the television series of Sherlock to watch during our couple-time. I haven't read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, but I guess I should. 

I wouldn't deny that I am an anglophile and I am keen to immerse into the arts and cultures. However, for the first time, I am going to take a ten-hours flight. God helps me. It was decided over SC's mileage redemption. I'm not sure how will the trip turn out either. I need to read a lot MORE.

As for writing, I might be blogging (ever) lesser, as work be will dynamically busy. I've already feel the stress. And my mojo to write and to scrapbook are not cooperative much these days. I like the fact that I have a platform to ramble and to make like-minded friends through blogging. But I can't cope. Often, I need more time to publish a writing here; I could not multitask well too, the quality time with the girls at night jeopardised when a supposedly-2-hours-composing ended up with 2 weeks of still-drafting. Beside, I am kind of one-man-show in term of daunting house chores, meal planning and execution, kids' personal chafferer (pick-up from daycare via public transport), their story-reader, emotional stabiliser, happiness generator, etc. On top of that, I make it a point to spend time with my husband after the girls doze off, before our bed night. My plate as a mum and a wife is very full and I seem don't have the ability to handle complexity.

Lastly, I hope to do a blood donation this year. I stopped donating blood since my weight dropped below 45kg. The last I did was during my university time. As I age, my body metabolism is slowing down, I have been putting on some weight and now, exceeded the mark! SC is a regular donor, and there is one blood bank nearby. This should be easily strike from the list-to-do for 2015;). Of course, I have to keep a healthy body prior to that. I have not been running since the year started, it's boring, imo. I have it replaced with regular yoga class, which I like it a lot. Fingers crossed that i will sustain the routine for very long.

Clean house, good year. Before doing the cleaning (organising and penning down the thoughts), I was pretty lost. Mundane day in day out lost me, the house was chaotic. Though it is small and simple.

I try to keep it simple. Remember? I can't handle complexity;).

A good year to ALL, too!

Jan 14, 2015

Penang: Misty Penang Hill

I have fond childhood memory of visiting Penang Hill. With luxuriant green, cold refreshing weather, tranquil, some part remained colonized too. I recalled, there was a green corner for kids to run wild while the parents get to sit down and relaxing close-by. About 830km above sea level, generally five degrees cooler than Georgetown, you will get to experience the change of temperature from the foot of the Hill to the Hill itself, with less than 30 minutes, excluding the waiting time at the queue to take the funicular. Penang Hill is one place that offering a spectacular panoramic view of Georgetown, sometime, Penang Bridge and beyond. 

Jan 3, 2015

Dec 2014: Pulau Pinang

Before the year (2014) ended, we managed to make a trip to Penang. The trip was unexpectedly awesome. Even the girls said so and asked for a return. Well, maybe we hardly a tourist in our own homeland, time was always allocated for family gathering, friends meeting, running errands and shopping(it's cheaper there). This time round, despite we made the effort to meet uni-mates and bonding with family members, we did what tourists do: sight-seeing to Penang Hill, water and sand playing at the beach, wandering and hunting down those famous street arts, finding those food stalls that we used to patronised... Penang is really fun, apparently.

This scrapbook captured one fun moment of the girls. SC drove through Jalan Tanjung Bungah to reminisce what we knew of Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi, stopped by one of the smaller and quieter beach at Tanjung Bunga for the girls to have some sand play time. The girls were thrilled. They jumped, cart-wheeled, shell and rock throwing, soaked into the sea water, etc. They didn't have enough of it. Beach, one great place to be for the kids to release their energy. Zero cost, infinite joy. 

Oh, throughout our visit in Penang, it was raining everyday. This was the only bright, cooling day for us to enjoy the beach.

Dec 8, 2014

I Didn't Throw it Away

I used to draw a lot when I was young, before the world was cyberised. 

Growing up in a big city, we didn't spend our childhood outdoor freely. Most of the time, besides playing with my siblings at home, I spent most of my free time seating down on my desk and holding the pencil to draw, to sketch, and brushes to paint. There must the innocent soul of mine in believing myself of having some sort of magical power to visualise and decode 3D into 2D. I was not afraid of wrong doing onto the drawing pad.

Nov 30, 2014

Transforming Grape Stem Into a Tree

One day, after disconnected a bunch of grapes from the stem and passed the fruits to the girls to eat...

I saw a naked tree in my palm.
So, a wild attempt to let the girls have some fun began-

Paint a Tree
First | bend some parts of the stem a little outwards, just to make it like a tree branches.
Second | washi tape to stick the stem on the drawing paper, randomly.
Third | get ready with brushes, colouring palette, water, some water colours,
           mainly green, blue and yellow, just to get different shapes of green
Fourth | Fun dipping begins!
            Various of green- light green, dark green, lime, teal, mint, etc dip onto paper.

Lastly | Complete the background as you like.

Visually, it gives an impact to the little minds on the transformation possibility of an object. Technically, it allows the little hands to experience the dipping technique and how blue and yellow can form variety of green. Again, the infinite possibility of forming own's green.

Of course, you can try other shapes of colour.

Nov 10, 2014

A Bit (More) from the Daily Fix

While writing and receiving loves on my earlier post of the Daily Fix, I got the opportunity to chat a little with Julian, the Founder. More on, feedback on his food and coffee we had. I approached him further if he would like to share about his story on the café business, those vintage collections, his effort, his vision and what not. I mean, how clever is he to hunt and keep those antiques and oldies? Making them as part of his life beautifully is another great success. He must have some secret!

Here’s his reply:

Oct 15, 2014

Malacca: The Daily Fix, Jonker Street

We travel back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore to visit my family, at least thrice a year. Hence, SC and I would bring the girls pop by Malacca whenever we could, just to be a day or two of wondering wanderers. Malacca maybe now a very tourist hotspot, it is still a new adventure place to the girls, many to see, many to think about and learn. We also think that it is a living book for us to read and get to walk our history physically. 

[Ok, the true is adult us love the food there, cheap and authentic].

Usually, we would pick off-peak season to visit the centre of Malacca city. It is always jam-packed during weekends and public holidays, on the road especially. Traffic congestion gets worst after listed as UNESCO heritage site. Good and bad I guess. I don't like crowd, and frankly we can't afford to spend more on the accommodation. Y'know, they charge more during peak seasons. (And they charge almost half the price when it is off-peak.)

So, after we had enough of wandering (and books), we went to The Daily Fix.

Oct 14, 2014

Malacca: Jonker Street and its Very Own Library

As I was saying, I have fond memories of Malacca. My dad brought little us to visit Malacca to makan angin (to travel for leisure), mostly during school holiday. Vaguely, I saw the red shophouses a lot, and the Christ Church, and the Fort A Famosa. And Trishaw! We didn't have it in the big city of KL nor small hometown of my dad's, you see. Malacca provided us a glimpse of the past and slower pace of living (few days though) from the Kuala Lumpur city. Over the years, I learnt a lot more about its history of Sultanate, Laksamana and Temenggung, as well as the unique Baba and Nyonya culture from our textbooks. It was one of the proud eras prior to Colonialism of Malaya. 

Profoundly, Malacca set the modern nation of Malaysia. If I may conclude so. 

Like many other cities in Malaysia, Malacca grows and develops rapidly too, vertically and horizontally while I was reading it from the textbooks. Some parts of the city stay physically intact as much as it could, some parts try to integrate the past and redevelop. Conservation and Preservation are not easy when socia-economic consideration is the primary aspect for a city. In 2008, together with George Town of Penang, Malacca became one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. More effort of redevelopment ever since, but I think that listing gives some of us some sort of relief that many of the past get to stay permanently.

Speaking of which, we love visiting Jonker Streetbeing the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage SiteDuring our last visit to Malacca, we had great fun. 

Oct 7, 2014

Sept 2014: Malacca

In many ways, Malacca is a very charming place to be. Its food and its mixed arts and cultural are the main attractions, along with those well restored historical architectures. Jonker Street, aka Jalan Hang Jebat, being the core of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where we don’t mind coming back again whenever we are visiting Malacca. Jonker Street is where I would find surprises whenever we are the wondering wanderers.

Slowly, I realised that, Malacca is also one of the places that I injected best memories to my children, my family. Pretty much similar to what my dad did to us. We used to visit Malacca for family trips. Those days, Malacca was much more leisure, much more simple; not as happening as now, was not so scorchy hot, was much lesser cars, little chaotic developments, no reclamation (or was it started in process?)... 

Malacca was a good place for us to escape from the metropolitan KL.

Credits: Amanda Yi Designs; Sahlin Studio; Kim Christensen's Design; Akizo, etc.

The text in the digital scrapbook is in Malay, for Melaka = Malacca; Bandaraya Bersejarah = Historical City. I am slowly losing the power of writing in it and speaking of it. 

I share more of our surprises in Jonker Street here and there.

Sep 22, 2014

Review: Creative Horizons

My girl's English isn't fantastic. She is confused with grammar, weak with word decoding; speaks Singlish (Colloquial Singaporean English) wonderfully and brings them into her comprehension, composition and oral too.

I don't have solution for her, except being very patient in correcting her. You see, I was brought up in an environment that English is being third or four language to acquaint with, I didn't learn the language formally until i was in third year of primary school. I learnt English bit by bit slowly over the years and I am still learning the language to-date. So in a way, I don't push very hard in her study. I let the big English-speaking environment do the hard work; the school, her friends, the media are the greatest teachers, aren't they? Eventually, she should be mastering the language, right? I am just a supporting role when she's back home.

But. My home environment is kind of rojak (mixed): Mandarin, English and most of the time mixing them up in a sentence to convey a message. Even though I don't speak perfect English, I was taught the right way to speak simple English and so cautiously, I speak to my children in grammatically correct manner... by right. In such a big environment of Singlish, I am slowly localised, been quite confused with the language sometime, while exhaustively reminding her what's right and what's not. Slowly, I get into more serious business, past years' paper for her to practice, holiday programme to revise, hoping to improve her proficiency level. I hate to admit, I am doing little help to her, in her English. To some extend, I speak more Chinese to her instead. Let's go back to our mother tongue, she should be mastering the language eventually, right?

I think I was giving up in helping her.
"让生命稳稳流动(也)是我的功课之一。" by Bubu Tsai