Thursday, February 26, 2015

You don't have to try so hard

Going back home always brought me with a special feeling.
Been parting from home over many years always makes me feeling nostalgic.
I noticed every differences it had every time I was on my way home from the airport.
The roadside that used to be greeneries, now it had been built with high floor concretes.
The big stadium that used to be the ground for us playing sport or holding other events - the spot where I was caught by police when I rode my motorbike with no helmet on passenger side - had been changed into stretches of shopping malls, hotel and offices.
I didn't know if I should laugh or cry,
but I definitely missed so much what I used to call home.

"Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don't be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong
So they like you. Do you like you?"

The music was played from the radio inside the salon that I brought my son into.
It was very crowded, as crowded as the wet market.
It's the eve of Chinese New Year and everyone wanted to impress their relatives and friends with their new haircut or hairstyles.
Curly hairs, straight hairs, bob cut, fringe mode on, and many more.
Manicure, pedicure, creambath, and massages.
All could be done at the same time.
Everyone who went out from that door turned beautifully and glamorous.
They looked just like a superstar!

I looked myself in the mirror.
My unsophisticated shoulder length hair, a bit messy here and there due to change of my fringe parting;
A plain face with no make up on;
Wearing my faded color old t-shirt and homey short pants;
Holding an auntie's cloth handbag on my hand. 
Sometimes I wondered if people would think that I was my son's maid instead of his mother. Perhaps maids would look more beautiful and presentable than me.

Should I count themselves lucky to stay in a country where things like this were cheap and affordable?
They could do this every month, every week, or even every day,
whereas my salon trip could be as rare as once-a-year event.
My one time haircut and treatment price in Singapore was like four or five times in Indonesia.
I never visited places for manicure and pedicure too as I didn't like the feeling my fingers being painted with one thick layer on it. I felt suffocated by doing so although sometimes I'd love to see the shiny colors painted on a long nail.
I didn't wear lipstick as I didn't like the dried and cracked feeling on my lips.
I never drew my eyebrow or drew lines around my eyes, because I just never bothered myself to be designed like that.
Sometimes I even wondered if I could call myself a 'woman'

"Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don't have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?

Their car was fully equipped with branded sound systems and connected their iPhone with it.
They held branded bag from Paris, Italian branded high-heeled shoes, and wore superstar replica dress from America.
They drove that flashy big new car next to big trucks, rusty public bus filled with sweaty passengers, three-wheels noisy and smokey public transport, with beggars and street vendors along the over crowded, hole-filled road, bravely.
In a while, I was thinking, I was just thinking...
If I chose to stay in this country... would I be like one of them???

"Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing...

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

You don't have to try..."

It just took me a moment before I realized that all that was temporary and over time it would change. Instead, why don't we focus on living life meaningfully and living our lives with no regrets?

As a reminder, I shall share with the top 5 regrets of the dying:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don't you like you?
Cause I like you"

And yes, I like you..., said me, looking at the mirror, once again.
I love just being me, just the way I am :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ren Ri 人日快乐! Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday everyone!!! Today is 7th day of first month Lunar calendar and as Chinese believes, today is everyone's Birthday!!!

To be honest I almost forgot about it. Recently I have been occupied with lots of work as one of my colleagues left and we haven't found any replacement yet. Therefore, I have to do her work and up to today there has no sign of the new staff yet. My hubby has also been busying himself with his new career as a Taxi driver. He occupies his mind mostly with work and more work. While my son has been busy preparing for his ongoing exams.

This morning I found it out only when we had our daily briefing in the office. I was wondering why everyone was wearing red (red is believed to be an auspicious color and to be worn in an auspicious day). Then one of my colleagues wished everyone 'Happy Birthday', only then I remembered! Yalama kheno! And I felt very odd there as I was the only one who was wearing black from head to toe....... *sweat......

But I consoled myself that this year green, white, and black were my auspicious colors this year. So it doesn't matter. Most importantly I have the positive mind to face whatever that comes this year and wish to maintain a peaceful heart and more mindful mind in everything that I do. Hope I can practice it all the time! :)

Today it's the day to eat 7 types of vegetables as one dish too! Singaporean would love to add the 'Yu Sheng' or Prosperity Toss dish to be eaten on this special day too! :)

Here I would like to wish everyone Happy Birthday!!! Wish you have a wonderful year ahead, be strong when needed to face whatever challenges and be positive always towards anything happens! Most importantly I wish everyone to be blessed with good health, wealth, life full of luck, joy, and happiness!!! Have a wonderful day! :)

P.S. Below is the rhymes I received from my friend. I shall share it with you here:

今天是正月初 7,祝你们~
Today is 7th day of CNY, I wish you:
生活不受 7, 
Life with no more suffering
常常有运 7,
Always lucky
天天都喜 7,
Happiness everyday
少发点脾 7,
Less anger,
为人多和 7,
More harmony
越来越阔 7,
More generosity
多吸新空 7,
More fresh air
才会多福 7 ,
More prosperity
做人和和 7 7 
Be harmonious
Everthing will goes as you wish
Wishing you and your family happy birthday!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Don’t Worry Be Hopey by Ajahn Brahm

Despite a limited time I had during my vacation back at my hometown, I considered myself lucky having a chance to visit a local bookstore located nearby my house. I went inside looking for some interesting books around and the big poster outside the bookstore attracted me to pick that book. Yes, the title above was the book that I picked, together with his trilogy books – “Si Cacing dan Kotoran Kesayangannya.”

Don't Worry Be Hopey by Ajahn Brahm

As for my usual thought, “If you can’t find the ‘Master’ physically, get their ‘Teachings’ literally, and it will be the same.” And I’m glad I found them and chose that book to read as a starting point of the Goat year. Hope I can learn some knowledge and wisdom from it and apply it into my daily life :)

Just like his previous book, “Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung” that I read before, this book consists of short stories collections. Very easy to read and digest. “Don’t Worry Be Hopey” is written in Indonesian language. But don’t be disheartened as you can find this book in English version with a title of “Don't Worry, Be Grumpy: Inspiring Stories for Making the Most of Each Moment.” It’s more or less having the same content.


I quote one of the short stories here and hope Ajahn Brahm won’t mind if I share it with you:

Lower your expectationMan wants to have a beautiful wife. Woman wants to have a rich husband. Both of them should have lowered down their expectation in order to be happy. When a man marries with a beautiful girl, he will get jealous and feel uneasy for the rest of his life, worries that his beautiful wife will one day be stolen or attracted by other guys. If he chooses to marry an ugly woman, he doesn’t have to worry about anything like that. 

And if the woman marries with a rich husband, she too will worry for the rest of her life that her rich husband will have another affair with other women. If she marries with a poor husband, he won’t be able to afford the expenses of another woman, therefore, there is no need to worry about such thing and she can live peacefully. These are the examples where lower down your expectation makes your life easy and far more enjoyable and happier :) 

I think the above is right as I don’t marry neither rich nor handsome husband so I don’t have to worry about anything like that to happen in my life hahaha…. :P Instead, I got married with a man who has a handsome heart and a man who is willing to do anything for me with little things that he has ;)

Click here to get the feeling of the other stories inside the book and if you like it, buy one for yourself if you happen to find it in the book store at the country where you stay and lend it around to others so that they can learn some lessons from there too.

I wish everyone have a great Goat Year ahead and keep filling yourself up with good books and keep writing my dear blogger friends. Take care and have fun!!! :)

P.S. Hopey means the opposite of worrying. Remaining hopeful; so as not to hold fear, anxiety or worry.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Chinese Goat New Year 2015


I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Chinese "Goat" New Year and Losar Tashi Delek for all my Bhutanese friends!!!

Wish all of you are blessed with good health, wealth, luck, life filled with lots of love, joy, peace, and happiness all through your life!!!

Enjoy this special day with your loved ones and happy holiday!!!! Take care!!! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day :)

It's not just a day
it's everyday.
How we love each other,
how we complete each other.

No matter where we are,
no matter how far the distance are,
 you are always in my heart, 
as I'll always in your heart. 

People say you are too simple,
but what I love is simple.
I love you just the way you are. 

Your kindness, 
your love, 
your care, 
your gentle kiss on my cheek,
when I was still on my sleep. 

Thank you SB for letting us be together in this life. 
Thank you, thank you, and thank you! 

And thank you for your love,
my dear


Just to drop by and wish everyone Happy Valentine's Day!!! Wish you have a wonderful time with your loved ones!!! :) 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Moments to remember - Kuenza and Sonam visit to Singapore

After months of contact we finally met up together here, in Singapore :) I guess it was fate that bringing us together. I read her blog before. It’s called Kuenza’s Diary.  But it was Luzee, known as “Lolo’s mother”  , who introduced me to her closer, since Kuenza was having a plan to come to Singapore. And it was Passu  who introduced me to Luzee when she too initially had a plan to come here. Quite a long introduction, isn’t it? Hehe… But at the end, I become knowing more and more Bhutanese, coincidentally we all are bloggers who share the same passion in writing :)

A lovely mother to a four-year old daughter (Dechen) who loves ‘Frozen’ so much, Kuenzang Lhadon or usually called Kuenza, struggles very much in balancing between her career and family life. Just days before she landed in Singapore, she had to travel, walking relentlessly from one village to another, back in Samtse, southwestern part of Bhutan for more than two weeks, leaving her family who were staying in Thimphu. Working with government sector, she didn’t have much choice but to follow whatever things required to do.

Even though the internet connection was quite limited back in the village, we still found time and way to communicate through Facebook. Since we were both busy and occupied with other things, we only met on her third day here. She came here for four-day training together with one colleague, Sonam Penjor, a lucky father of 4 year-old boy and 6-months baby boy, who originally came from Chukha, also southwestern part of Bhutan.

Kadinche-la everyone for your beautiful presents :)

I asked Uden to come along since she too wanted to pass her chom for me. Thank you la Uden! :) Uden knows Luzee too as both of them previously worked in the same place before. So, who knows that they might know each other? Later on we found out that both Kuenza and Sonam knew about Uden’s husband and not Uden herself. It’s a small world, isn’t it? :D

We met up in Vivo City level 3. Kuenza and Sonam would like to visit Sentosa Island. They heard it from their friends before about the place and were curious on how it looked like. At first they thought the island was quite far from here and it would take some time for us to get there. Kuenza almost changed her mind to shop at Vivo City and Mustafa instead of going to Sentosa hahaha… I think she was attracted with the shops that she had passed by when taking the escalator up :D

Great relaxing time at Siloso Beach after long day at office and training place :)

It took only few minutes to reach the island by monorail. Since the sky was still bright (although it’s already almost 7pm), I decided to bring them to see the Siloso Beach first by taking a tram. Oohh… it was a wonderful evening. Cooling and soothing. All of us took our shoes off and walked barefoot on the sands. We walked and chit chatted at the same time trying to get to know each other better, not forgetting to take some memorable pictures with a beautiful beach view :)

Me, Kuenza and Sonam with Merlion at Sentosa Island, Singapore :)

From there we walked up to see the big Merlion (Singa-Laut), a creature with a lion head and fish body – an icon or mascot of Singapore. Initially I was planning to bring them to Merlion Park to see this famous icon of Singapore and also to enjoy the night view of Singapore’s CBD area. But since they chose to go to Sentosa, this Merlion was even bigger than the one we planned to see. So they could proudly tell themselves now that they had visited Singapore :)

After that we took a monorail to see different parts of Sentosa. I thought of bringing them to glance at the RWS Casino but they were afraid it would be too late for us since we still wanted to go for dinner and shop in Mustafa. So we left the island and headed to Little India, to feel the atmosphere of India.

Enjoyed Indian dinner at Komala Restaurant at Little India, Singapore :)

Kuenza was vegetarian, therefore, Uden and I decided to eat at Komala’s Vegetarian Restaurant, located just opposite of Farrer Park MRT. Sonam and Kuenza had already been very hungry. Both of them ate their sets of North India Thali immediately once it's served. Uden ordered Thosai Masala while myself ordered a giant Bhatura that I’d been craving it since weeks ago. (Look at the photos above to see how big my Bhatura was!) :P

Once done, we walked to Mustafa Centre, a 24-hour giant shopping mall in Little India area. It’s very famous place among Bhutanese as they can find many Indian things and food there. They are familiar with the language too and will make them feel closer to home. They were there buying some stuffs. At about 10 pm plus I had to go back home.

The next evening, which was yesterday, we met up again. This time we met up at Chinatown. Chinese New Year is coming next Thursday, falls same with Bhutanese Losar. Here you could feel the atmosphere that was quite different – livelier and more insane. People from many different countries came to this place for feeling the festivities, taking beautiful photographs, having dinner with friends and families, strolling in a cool and breeze evening, shopping, and so on. There were stalls set up especially for this event. Road was even closed to accommodate the visitors and sellers.

Me and Sonam at Chinatown, Singapore :)

It was Kuenza and Sonam last night in Singapore and they did their last minute shopping in Chinatown, a perfect place to buy as they had more varieties and good prices as well. I almost lost them while they were shopping hahaha…. I brought my two besties as we wanted to gather and reunion before the Chinese New Year day as we all would be very busy in days to come and some would return to hometown to celebrate with family.

LoheI or Yusheng to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year :)

We had dinner at the Chinatown market level 2. I loved visiting this place. Although it looked old and not fancy, you could feel the atmosphere of what local did on their day to day activity. You could see the real Singapore here rather than the usual food center designed for tourists. You could easily detect which food stall was famous by the length of the queue in each stall. The longer the queue, the better the food usually was!!!

I accompanied Kuenza looking for her vegetarian food. She found herself noodles with tomato and egg while my bestie, ET, accompanied Sonam choosing his favorite food and some other local dish to try. PY went back to the alley to find Yu Sheng (鱼生) or Lo Hei (捞起) in Cantonese, meaning Prosperity Toss, mixture of shredded vegetables, pickles, oil, plum sauce, pepper, cinnamon powder, grated peanut, lime, and the most important ingredient, raw fish. This dish symbolizes the abundance and prosperity.

Yu Sheng or Prosperity Toss dish

Do you see the plate above? Some of the ingredients were still covered inside the container and we had to assemble it one by one. While pouring it, we also had to shout out the auspicious words that represent the meaning of each ingredient. Read more about the prosperity words we shouted on this post.

Our local food dinner at Chinatown, Singapore :)

We also ordered few local dishes for Sonam to taste, such as: Laksa (thick rice vermicelli in a rich coconut gravy soup added with slices of fish cakes, fish ball, cockles, tau pok or fried beancurd, and spring of laksa leaves), fried oyster omelet, fried Hokkien noodle, and kuo tie (deep fried dumplings).

Upcoming Goat year at Chinatown, Singapore :)

We ate until very full then ready to shop around again hehehe….. After taking few snaps to keep the memorable gathering, we then separated and went back home.

Well, I hope they keep all the memorable, short but sweet moments, back to Bhutan and I hope we all can meet again one day :) Thank you Kuenza for your chom, also other choms you had passed it to me from my friends in Bhutan! Wish you and Sonam a safe trip back home and enjoy your long holiday soon together with your loved ones! Take care and keep in touch! Let this post become a witness of our gathering and momento too! :)

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Ho Chi Minh Itinerary 4D3N – Day 3

Thien Hau Temple at Chinatown - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The journey continues... After having a delightful local breakfast, we went to Chợ Lớn, area dominated by Chinese – or so called Chinatown. We took a taxi to visit Thiên Hậu Temple or Chùa Bà Thiên Hậu, one of the oldest traditional Chinese Temple in Ho Chi Minh (built in 19th century) to honor the Lady Thien Hau / Lady of the Sea (in Chinese, known as Tian Hou or the Mazu ()– a very well-known Goddess, believed as a protector of fishermen and sailors and usually worshipped in the coastal regions). The address: 710 Nguyễn Trãi, phường 11, District 5.
Thien Hau Temple - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The interior was beautiful, very ancient and picturesque, especially the diorama made of porcelain that decorated the roof, surrounding the courtyard, where many spiral incense coils were hung on the ceiling, looked like a very typical old Chinese temple that you could find it elsewhere. You could write your name on the red paper that was attached to each coil. Prayers believed that their prayers and wishes would be conveyed to the deity. Or otherwise you could purchase normal long stick incense and place it on the bronze bowls provided, just like what three of us did. Both had the same purpose and meaning.

4-Storey house in Cho Lon - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

On our way to another temple, we smelled a nice fragrant from a food stall and we saw noodles!!! Oh oh… I was exciting that I finally found yellow noodles in Vietnam (because we always eat rice noodles, white in color, and taste differently). I was asking MG and hubby if they would like to enter, and as usual, they nodded full of agreement.

Delicious Chinese rice noodles at Cho Lon, Chinatown - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

When it came to order, the staff was clueless on what we would like to say hehehe… So I walked and showed her what we wanted by pointing on what a gentleman was eating on his table. However, to my disappointment, the yellow noodles were out of stock – so sad!!! And we had to order kway teow and bee hoon instead. Hiks... Nevertheless, we were still very happy as the taste and fragrant were very nice!!! It reminded me of the noodles tasted back in my father’s hometown. They used the same and very important ingredient in it, which was deep-fried pork oil. Hhhmmm….. I was hymning full of gratitude for letting us trying it there in Vietnam and thinking that my parents would love these if they visited this place one day… :)

Chùa Quan Âm or Kuan Im Temple - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The Quan Âm Pagoda or Chùa Quan Âm (Avalokiteshvara Pagoda or what I usually called Kwan Im Temple) was located very near from the Thiên Hậu Temple, about 5-minute walk. The pagoda consisted of many praying chambers. You had to go through the altar for Jade Emperor (Tian Gong )and Thiên Hậu ()Goddess before finally reached to large courtyard dominated by the s tatue of Quan Âm and many other deities.  

Pond opposite of Chùa Quan Âm or Kuan Im Temple - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Although it’s believed to be the oldest pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City, the place inside had been restored many times by local residents to preserve its architecture, very visible though. I didn’t take photos inside as I preferred not to take photo of the statues as to respect them. But it was very similar with Chinese temples that we had back in Jakarta and other places in Indonesia. There was a garden and artificial pond at the opposite of the temple. In the middle of the pond there was an artificial miniature island with rocky terrain with Kwan Im statue with beautiful background. Looking at the whole place made me again, feeling like at my home sweet home.

As usual, the familiarity and chance to see the Buddha, Kwan Im, Thien Hao, and other deities’ statues filled my heart with happiness and gratitude, as no matter which country I go, they were always be around me, protecting around me invisibly and keeping me safe. Thank you, thank you, and thank you SB! :)
Typical shops along the Nguyen Trai Street - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

I couldn’t find the big wholesale market that I imagined existing there in Chinatown. I thought the building would be significant around there. 

Road side selling oranges - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Wet market along the Nguyen Trai Street - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Instead, we walked along the Nguyễn Trãi Street, passing by shops and wet markets. It again reminded me a lot of home. There were areas in Jakarta that look very similar like this. The wet markets were almost the same standard too.
Our trio coffee from ABC Bakery at Pham Ngu Lao - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

After a while, we decided to take cab and headed to ABC Bakery and Café at 223-225 Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, to have our daily dose of Vietnamese coffee :)

Pho Hoa Pasteur - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Late lunch crowd at Pho Hoa Pasteur - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Dadadada.... We finally visited one of the best Pho restaurant in Vietnam!!! It's a family owned type, where the family secret broth recipe was passing down from one generation to another. A MUST TRY beef noodle soup located at 260C Pasteur Street, District 1. 

Delicious Cha Gio or Spring Roll from Pho Hoa Pasteur - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

We ordered the Cha Gio or spring roll (VND 60,000 or S$3.75 per portion) as appetizer and personally, it becomes the best spring roll I ever had there. The crab meat inside was simply succulent and delicious!!!

Pho Dac Biet Du Thu or Special Beef Noodle from Pho Hoa Pasteur - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

We ordered two bowls of Pho Dac Biet Du Thu (VND 75,000 or S$4.70 per bowl) - the rice noodle soup with all kind of mixed beef inside added with various vegetables, slices of chili, and dash of lime. Hhhmmm...... nyummy!!! The portion was quite big, enough for 3 of us.

Menu and price list of Pho Hoa Pasteur - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The price was very reasonable too!!! With this quality and portion in Singapore, we might have to pay twice or triple times of the original price in Vietnam. We were wishing to have it again on our last day, however, due to time constraint, we had to give it up!!! :(

After that late lunch, we headed back to hotel. We had a traditional Vietnamese massage appointment at the hotel at 4pm continued with a little rest and last minute shopping before we headed for our river cruise dinner.

At US$50/pax we booked it from the travel agent as I was curious on what kind of night scenery we would get from river in Ho Chi Minh. I was imagining that it would be as great as the cruise trip I had in Russia not long ago and also curious on what kind of boat we would take.

Elisa Floating Restaurant - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

No, no, it wasn't our cruise.. not our boat.. which we thought it was. Lol!!! Our boat was parked beside it, called Bonsai River Cruise. It's made of woods, has oriental design. It was full on the first floor deck and empty on the second. They had buffet spread in the middle, mixture of hot and cold appetizers, main course, and desserts.

Bonsai River Cruise Dinner - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Most of the tables were filled by tourists from the travel agent group and like us, who booked individually. It's around two hours and they had entertainment like interactive dance with guests, live music, even magic.

Chill and unwind along the river - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The food was good. But what made me disappointed was that there wasn't much scenery to look at and the boat didn't even go a long way. It's almost the same view over and over again, a very short distance and sailed in tortoise speed. Perhaps, they couldn't offer much due to the limitation of the river.

Ho Chi Minh night view

Well, at least now I knew how it looked like and what they offered. Never try, never know! But, not very recommended though. With that amount of money, we could perhaps go somewhere else having a nice food with better ambiance. Anyway... that's how we spent our last night in Ho Chi Minh.

Will continue for another day, our last day there... Stay tune!!!

P.S. Read on what we had on day 1 and day 2, Cu Chi Tunnel trip, Goby fish dinner, and beware when you meet coconut seller near the Reunification Palace ;)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Li Chun (立春) 2015

A gentle reminder for those who believe in banking in the money on Li Chun (立春) day and wearing red top, the day will fall tomorrow, 4 February 2015!!! For those who don't know what it is about, please read my previous year's post here.

Managed to get the lucky timing table below based on your Chinese Horoscope from my bestie! Tq ET! ;)

Best time to Bank-in Money - Li Chun 4 February 2015

So don't forget wear red top tomorrow and bank-in money to your nearest ATM ;) Huat ahhhh!!!! :D
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