Sunday, February 09, 2020

Unforgettable Chinese New Year 2020

Last day of Chinese New Year

Today it marked the last day of Chinese New Year, which was also called Cap Go Meh (meaning the fifteenth lunar) or Yuan Xiao Jie 元宵节 (the Lantern Festival) or also known as Chinese Valentine's Day.

This year the atmosphere of the overall Chinese New Year was rather special and it was mainly due to the arrival of special guest from Wuhan, China - the Novel Coronavirus or nCoV- that spread not only to Chinese people or within China, but to any other nationalities and all over the world.

List of 33 confirmed cases and its relation up to 8 Feb 2020 (Pic source: CNA Channel News Asia)

Since Singapore was among the top countries often visited by Chinese people, whether it was for business, meetings, working, visiting, and so on, it was inevitable that the nCoV reached to us pretty soon.  This had caused a stir among Singaporean who rushed around trying to stock up masks, sanitizer, cleaning products as a way to prevent the spreading and maintain the personal hygiene.

Our Lohei or Prosperity Toss Platter from Chinatown Complex Singapore 

Yesterday my friends and I embraced ourselves to go to Chinatown Complex Hawker Centre in order to have our Lohei or Prosperity Toss celebration and dinner. Initially we were worried too to choose the place there because it was a well-known hawker visited by both local and tourists. But I thought that there was affordable and nice Yusheng there where I used to patronize years ago and I wanted to introduce it to my friends.

I was quite appalled when I saw no crowd. I mean, usually this place was crowded like hell! There would usually a plate of Yusheng ordered in every table and 'Huat ah' (meaning to welcome prosperity)  shouting would be heard one after another while tossing the mixed vegetables in the air).

With my Mala Partners ^_^

Even when we finished our dinner (around 8pm), the area was quiet. Many shops were closed too near the temple area. Souvenir shop seller complained to me that their sales were not even reaching S$500 on such Friday night as the result of nCoV.

Temporary ban visitor from China (Source: wikipedia. org)

From 1st Feb 23:59 our Singapore government had stopped anyone who had visited China for the past 14 days to enter, or transit through Singapore. Ahh..., no wonder lah why the tourist area became so quiet.

I also thought the MRT would be crowded and I would not get seat, but I was wrong. We managed to get seat and there were many empty seats on and off. When reaching home, I started checking my phone and receiving many pictures. Then only I realized where all the Singaporean went that night.

The DORSCON chart (Pic source: CNA Channel News Asia)

It was yesterday that the announcement of DORSCON alert were raised from Yellow to Orange. Many 'kiasu' (scared to lose) and 'kiasi' (scared to die) Singaporean were rushing down to supermarkets to hoard the basic necessity products, such as: rice, instant noodle, canned food, cleaning products, and so on. The supermarket website was also not functioning due to overwhelmed shoppers and not enough stocks.

Few photos circulated among social media while queuing at supermarket in Singapore

The photos of empty racks, super long queue, and people wearing funny stuffs were circulated around the social media, stirring panic not only within the country, but also affected our neighbor countries like Indonesia.

Today many Indonesian friends of mine sent me messages asking about the situation here. They were also receiving those photos circulated online and was wondering how Singapore had become like this while there was no single case up to now in such a huge country with more than 260 million citizens in Indonesia. They conveyed their worries towards my families and my safe being.

Wuhan Virus VS Kiasi Virus (Pic source: Facebook)

Even this Saturday morning when I walked to supermarket to see the situation myself, as early as 9.30 am, a super long queue had already been there. Everyone was having shopping cart full of things both at upper and bottom part of the cart. They stood there and were patiently waiting for their turn to pay. I saw many unattended carts and baskets too that were abandoned by shoppers who did not have patient to wait for their turn.

Non of our family members were hoarding stuffs like that, thankfully!!! Because we had stored just enough food for our daily necessities which I had bought during CNY promotion period, such as: 5 packs of instant noodles, 2 packs of egg noodles, 2 packs of 5 kg rice for the families of 5 at home. I considered it to be enough for the time being and truthfully I would not feast on instant noodle on my daily meal. I would rather buy vegetable from nearby supermarket and eat it with, just enough for our meal. Otherwise we could still purchase bread from the convenience shop.

Another picture distributed online (Pic source: Facebook)

And since I stopped working, I had a habit of taking simple meal in my everyday's life. Plus I believed in 'I eat to live rather than I live to eat.' So basically my hubby and I took this incident calmly and I could relax at home reading and sleeping rather than queuing at the supermarket.

So far I also had not worn any single mask even when going out. The only mask that I had was the 4-piece mask that our government distributed once per household (which apparently not enough for 5 of us, but eventually, we still had to feel grateful as not every government gave out the mask away to their citizen, ie. Hong Kong, no matter how little the number given was). And although I had the hand sanitizer, I never brought it with me as I had no habit in using it and believed more in the power of washing hand with soap or using wet tissue to clean hands when required.

There was no spray to kill bacteria too at home. The most we added on was adding a small cap of Dettol into our washing machine when washing clothes to kill the germs, that's all.

Full moon at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Singapore 070220

No one knew when this virus would stop spreading. In fact, there were still many people not yet coming back to Singapore due to the travel ban (including 30,000 Chinese national who held work permit here in Singapore). It was definitely affecting the economy (especially on tourism and airlines), which reminded many people of 2003 SARS outbreak.

For now we could only pray that we could overcome this storm peacefully and prayed hard that the situation would be under control. May all sentient beings be healthy and happy, free from suffering and the cause of suffering, life full of peace and joy. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. 

Update news as Sunday 9 Feb 20 (Pic source: the Straits Times)

P.S This morning 9 Feb 20 when I woke up, 7 new cases were announced and it had added to a total 40 cases, and this time it even included the Taxi and private hire car drivers, which were worrying as many people were expected to be fetched in and out every day in their course of work.

However, do not let our guards down to prevent the virus by keeping up with the personal hygiene practice, staying at home more when necessary (instead of roaming around), taking care our health by eating healthy food, drinking more water, vitamin, honey (to increase immune system), and so on. Keep calm and stay away from rumour, which only added unnecessary fear and distress. Stay strong Singapore and let's join hand together to overcome this wave. Take care and good luck!!!

(Fyi, to read the latest Singapore news you could visit the MOH website, CNA or Channel News Asia, the Straits Times (Singapore local newspaper), and so on).

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Third Year with the Family

Thousand Layer Cake (Indonesian Kue Lapis)

Yayyyy!!! Finally!!! Today is the last day of working my part time job!!! It is my third year helping the family baking the thousand layer cake (known as Indonesian kue Lapis). Read here for the post I wrote when working there on my first year :)

Unfortunately due to an incident, our Lady Boss passed away last year on a Good Friday. And this year, her daughter, son, and husband, continue running the shop and selling the Chinese New Year goodies to cater to the needs of their customers (many are very loyal customers who have been shopping here since the shop was opened, and otherwise were a very good friend of the Lady Boss). P.S. Although she is no longer here, I still called her my 'Lady Boss'.

Baking kue lapis

Her daughter was messaging me somewhere in mid December and asking me if I would be available to help up to bake for this CNY. After confirming that I would not go anywhere this time round, I told her about my availability and started work on December 23. So it was exactly a month since I started it (with many holidays in between). And the pain from my previous post was caused by doing this job.

That is why I am so happy that finally the work is over and it is time for all of us to take a good rest and celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year together with dear families and friends :)

Without the Lady Boss around, her daughter was taking in charge and managing the operations to ensure that they had enough stock to make the goodies, enough supplies to sell, delivery of goods to come on time, enough manpower to do the necessary work, and so on. And she was very lucky as she had handful of trusted workers who knew their roles and responsibilities, who were reliable for doing the given tasks, honest in handling the money and doing the job well, etc.

Many of the employees were in retired ages (above 60s) - were working there for so many years (more than a decade), hired by the Lady Boss.

The eldest one on her last day of work (See her happy face??? :D)

The oldest one is 87 years old this year and she works only during this period helping up with shaping the pineapple tarts. Second oldest is 75 years old and she is still very strong like a bull!!! :D

Despite the Lady Boss was no longer there, the workers were still working very hard and supporting the business as much as they could. But of course the daughter has continued treating us very well too!!!

Yum yum.... Tasty right??? :D

She was treating us a sumptuous dinner on one of the day after we finished working, as her and her families appreciation towards our dedication and hard work. Sometimes she also bought dinner for staffs who worked until very late. On our last day we were given the CNY goodies to be shared with our families and friends at home.

I am very thankful for being given the trust and opportunity to work here again this time round. Even though this was only a once a year task and causing many body pains, I enjoyed the baking process very much. Perhaps it is the passion that motivated me to be there every morning. No doubt it was a very tiring job although it was only 8 hours a day. But at the end of the day, by baking the cakes well and making enough quantity to sell was satisfying.

The memory of the Lady Boss was always around especially when I was baking, as she, was the one who taught me personally on how to do it.

I do not know yet if next year I will still have the chance to work like this again (who knows I will return back to full time employment again right?)

But if I am free and available, I will be happy to help up again. For now, I have done enough and it is a time to have a good rest and let me preparing the upcoming Rat Year!!!

Everyone as a team :)

As a closure let me share the group photo above, taken during the staff dinner. No Lo Hei shouting was done though to respect the departure of the Lady Boss (still less than a year's time), but the food ordered was all delicious. We enjoyed a lot.

Thank you again to you know who you are for everything!!! May the business continues doing well and everything goes smoothly. Most important everyone is blessed with good health, peace, joy, luck and happiness in their lifetime!!! Huat ahhh!!!!!! :)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The pain

Joint pain (Pic source:

I still remembered it was started on my first day. It had been so long I had not done any work and it was inevitable that the back of my right shoulder and the left side of my back were terribly pain for the whole night. The Japanese koyo (medicated plaster) that I bought from my trip recently was made in a very good use. Two patches were pasted on the different parts of my skin and it worked really effectively. The pain was gone the next morning, like a miracle!!!

Few days after I had no problem at all. It seemed that my body had adjusted to the rhythm and the movement. Even before my period came, my body seemed so energetic. I could do so much work in a day within short period of time, and nothing happened. I heard complains from every one else about how pain their knees were from the long standing. But they were all in their sixties and above, not young chap like me. So, inevitable right?

Until about two weeks later, I felt my left ankle swollen for no reason. Well, there might be a reason - standing up too long - but it would not make sense. I mean, I had no complain when walking a lot usually. But swollen ankle and I had to walk limping was quite a bad sign. Not only that. My back shoulder and near butt part were paining too!!! OMG!

That night my dear was kindheartedly rubbing the muscle pain reliever cream onto all affected parts of my body. Earlier, I too rubbed the Chinese medicated ointment that claimed able to reduce swollen into the ankle. Miraculously, those efforts done last night, plus love and hearts put onto it, able to make the pain disappeared!!! Wow!!! The next morning, I would be able to walk like nothing ever happened!!!

Enough sleep and rest helped the process of the recovery too!!!

Then, the week after that. The pain came almost every day in different parts of my body.

One day, it attacked the back part of my left foot. Another day, the pain attacked my whole neck area. The next day, it numbed my right hand - a bit swollen - looked like water retention, but soon reduced when afternoon came. The other day it attacked my left wrist. After that my upper part of right arms. Then left upper arms. It just came and went non-stop, testing my patience and endurance.

The past few days it attacked my left knees. When I squatted down, the pain was there and it made me wanting to cry. One time I felt like just staying at home and doing nothing but taking a rest. But the pain would go after it gave me enough pain, disappeared miraculously, just like that.

Another time, I had to take the painkiller to remove the pain.

I had the urine and blood check up. Just nice, the check-up time arrived. A week later, the doctor told me the result was fine. Nothing was there to worry about. She said, it was normal to feel the pain. If unbearable, take the painkiller. What an advise!!!

I was still considered young and not reaching retirement age yet. However, my body was worse than people in those ages. I was wondering if I did not have this SLE, would I still experience all these pain??? Or would I feel nothing and lived normally, as if nothing happened and sleep would remove my tiredness and that was it???

The pain could be unbearable sometimes. Like I could not even dry my back part of my body with towel when my upper arms were in pain. And it made me thinking, that one day, I might have to live with a support of other people's help - instead of independently taking care of my self. I could not imagine for that day to come. If I was lucky enough, I would have had enough money to put myself inside the nursing home, where there would be other people able to take care of me, even for doing such simple daily activity. Haizzz.... Of course, I did not want this to happen.

And I knew, no matter how much I did to prevent this to happen, it would still happen anyway. Because it was not under my control - where, when, how it would happen. I could only tell myself, that this pain was only temporary. It was there to rinse my bad karma away, to let me feeling the pain from all bad deeds I did from the past actions. Nothing lasted forever anyway and things would change all the time. So, just let it come, and let it go, everything would gonna be alright.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Books read for the second half of the year 2019

That is me :D

The second half of 2019 passed so fast. Life was hectic for me, and mostly from travelling.

My goal was actually to read 40 books in 2019, but after first half of the year I only managed reading total of 13 books. 

Until November I tried my best to spare some time to read and could only manage another 10 books. So in December, once all the travelling had over, with the support of cooling weather back home, I spent most of time reading in my bed. That was also how I gained weight so fast as what I did every day was eat, sleep, read and repeat.

Within a month's time, I managed reading 9 books which in overall year, the total books I read was 32 books. Not bad lah :D

Below let me share the list of the book I read for the second half of the year 2019:

July 2019

July 2019: 
1. Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One - Raphaelle Giordano
2. Thus I Heard - Ngawang Phuntsho

August 2019

Aug 2019: 
1. Kopi Thiam - James Suresh
2. Normal People - Sally Rooney
3. If, Then - Kate Hope Day
4. When Loss is Gain - Pavan K. Varma

September 2019

Sep 2019: 
1. 101 Stories for Foreigners to Understand Chinese People - Yi S. Ellis with Bryan D. Ellis
2. Girl A - My Story
3. Falling is Flying - Ajahn Brahm and Chan Master GuoJun

October 2019

Oct 2019: 
1. Awaken Every Day - Thubten Chodron

November 2019

Nov 2019: 
1. The Postcard - Zoe Folbigg
2. The Diary of Amos Lee (I Sit, I Write, I Flush) - Adeline Foo

December 2019

Dec 2019: 
1. In Love with the World - Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
2. Big Sky - Kate Atkinson
3. Sikkim Requiem for Himalayan Kingdom - Andrew Duff
4. Where the Crawdads Sing - Adelia Owens
5. Finding Chika - Mitch Albom
6. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler - Kelly Harms
7. Three Women - Lisa Taddeo
8. Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield
9. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - Abbi Waxman

Hope you still maintain your passion in reading as many others are doing. I am glad to find many passionate readers lately through Instagram where we can share which books are nice and worth spending our time reading. So, see you again in 6 month's time and enjoy reading!!! :)

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Looking back at 2019

Myself being myself - Virginia Woolf

Wow!!! Another year had gone by!!! It passed like a lightning and yet, it added not only number to the age. 

Year 2019 was different from many other years I had been through. It was a year of realization, a maturity process (perhaps age and experience had also played a part in it), and it had brought many changes for the thinking and behaviours from inside me. 

There were not always changes for the better or worse, and right or wrong, but changes for what I deemed important to attain the empty space and inner peace.

It was no longer the more the merrier or the more the better. I had become more selective on who could be, what should be, and where to be - to be inside the part of my life journey, and to treasure those who chose to stay and treasure me back.

Needless to say, the circle had automatically gotten smaller and me too, became much quieter. Despite those, I never lost any piece of me. I still lived my life to the fullest, one day at a time, with people whom I loved and loved me; still being my own self, doing things I loved doing, ignoring the voices that judging me of what I should do or not do from their eyes. Who cares?

Thank you for another wonderful year 2019 (IG: rimareyka.writes)

2019 was another most travelling year for me too. At least once a month, and many times to many different places at one time and visited many new places I had never been before.

It was my first time arranging cruise plus free and easy trip for the family to faraway places (different countries with different languages, first time visit, etc.) It was challenging but rewarding when everything went as per planned (and we were all blessed with good health, safety, and smooth journey). Thanks to so many reviews from Google maps, websites, blogs, and so on! :)

I visited many new places in China too and made me wanting to travel there even more in the future. Even Indonesia! Many beautiful nature could be found there. There would be no longer repetitive places with no specific reasons to go. Life was too short not to travel to many of my dream places :D

And of course, health! Thank you for the good health we had in 2019 and yes I knew well, nothing stayed permanent. And thing had already changed with so much weight I had gained from all the good food I took and received from those travelling. Weather and my time spent on reading forced me to stay more inside house, resulting in lack of exercise. 

I was blessed with makan kaki too where I could have almost weekly Mala and Tsing Dao session from Chinatown!! Lol!! Blessing or just excuse for enjoying life? In any case, I love the food, the feeling, and the accompanies!!!

Get ready everyone!! No one says it will be easy, but it will be worth it!!! (IG: Rimareyka.writes)

Well, 2020 is like a blank paper in front of me now. Only one dash point I could see for now, while the rest I leave it still blank and let nature takes its course. But I predict that I would stay more on the ground, spend more time on readings, practise meditation (I hope), and be more aware of my doing. 

So, with the end of 2019, another chapter had closed and a new page is there, ready for us to fill up.  I have gotten my diary ready, and wish everything goes well to everyone, as well as to the world where we live in. 

Same world, same time, but many different things are happening. Wish for the best to come and wish everyone a wonderful year ahead!!! :)
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