Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Life update - Jan 2021

Hello January

Time indeed flies. January is going to be over soon, in few days time. Many things have happened, be it in my own personal life, and also in everyone else's life. 

First of all, Chinese New Year is coming (on 12th February 2021). It is in two and half weeks more. Many people are preparing it diligently now - from cutting their hair (to ward off the bad luck), buying new clothes, shopping food for CNY Eve's family gathering, changing new notes for the red packets, buying CNY goodies and decoration, and so on. 

However, 4 days ago, the authorities came out with new rules on visiting and tossing Yusheng (related to the upcoming CNY celebration). More details can be found here. It is summarized in the picture below:

Covid-19 Safeguards (Pic source: CNA)

With it, the CNY is expected to be quiet this year, very different from years before. Haiz.... I know. But when Covid-19 is still rampant everywhere, I think precautions are better than sorry and we just have to bear with it.

Anyway, many people are happy with the new rules though. Because they will get excuse for no-visiting this year. No need to prepare CNY goodies or delicacies, no need to distribute hong bao or red packet (although e-hongbao is recommended these days), no need to answer unnecessary (or sometimes stupid) questions - e.g. to those single - when have boyfriend or girlfriend; to couple - when to get married; to married couple - when to have kid; to married couple with kid - when to have a second one; and so on. No visiting means, no need to wear new clothes, shoes, bag, too.. Imagine how much money will be saved this year!!! Lol!!!

Second, I have quit from my part-time job. My last day of work was 17th January. It lasted for five months. It was short, but I experienced the busiest and quietest moments altogether. Have found friendship in it as well. Thank you for the opportunity and experience given to you know who you are! I am glad I was there in the team!! :)

From 11th itself, I started the other part-time job - baking kueh lapis . It is my fourth year doing this with the company. Yesterday, the kueh lapis from the company where I work was featured by 8 days (a weekly Singaporean magazine published by Mediacorp). 

Lina Confectionery Backstory Coverage (Pic source: 8 days.com)

They bought 17 kueh lapis from all different shops in Singapore - undercover - meaning: no ads, affiliations or insidious under-the-table hand-shaking involved. They placed it all side by side and compared the taste. Amazingly, they ranked it fourth best!!! With the coverage, personally, I am very happy with the news. 

And the comment! (Pic source: 8 days.com)

If only the Lady Boss (Tante Lina) - the founder - were still alive, she must be very proud and happy too!!! The kueh lapis recipe was created by her and it was her sweat and hard work for the product to be recognized by many people. She must be smiling from heaven now.

Third, once the kueh lapis job is over (first week of February), I have accepted another part time job. It is still F&B related job, still related to my passion, but handling different food. I will post it next time once I have started and familiar with it. There is something interesting about it, and that was why I chose to try :)

Yeah, it is funny right? When everyone was busy with their works, I was jobless and did nothing (other than travelling). And when Covid came, many people lose their jobs and do nothing, I was the other way around, busied myself with the part-time job I took. Hahaha...

I feel blessed though. Because even when the time was tough, we are all blessed with good health, safe environment, have job to do, and so on.

So, that's it for now. January is a busy month for me. Work, work, and work. Hope to have more rest. Til then. Hope everyone is in good health! Take care! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Books read for the second half of the year 2020

Quote by Lloyd Alexander (Pic source: Google.com)

Hi hi, how have you been readers? Have you managed to read much for the second half of the year 2020?

I read lesser than the first half as since August, I had started working. With more hours spent at work plus the Korean drama I had binged to run myself away from reality,  the lesser time I had spent on reading.

Nevertheless, it was not too bad. 

Below please find the lists of books I had read for the second half of the year 2020:

July 2020

July 2020:

1. Before the Coffee Gets Cold - Toshikazu Kawaguchi
2. My True Love Gave To Me (Twelve Winter Romance)
3. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down - Haemin Sunim

August 2020

August 2020:

1. 1984 - George Owell
2. Sex and Vanity - Kevin Kwan
3. Last Tang Standing - Lauren Ho

September 2020

September 2020:

1. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird - Josie Silver
2. Love In No Man's Land - Duo Ji Zhuo Ga

October 2020

October 2020:

1. Hidden Bhutan - Martin Urlz
2. The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

November 2020

November 2020:

1. The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida - Clarissa Goenawan
2. The Other Mrs - Mary Kubica 
3. The Good Girl - Mary Kubica 

December 2020

December 2020:

1. The Glass Hotel - Emily St. John Mandel
2. Sleeping on Jupiter - Anuradha Roy
3. What Lies Between Us - John Marrs
4. Never Look Back - Mary Burton

Quote by Margaret Atwood (Pic source: Google.com)

Btw. how was 2020 treating you? It was not a easy year to pass through right? And yet, it flew so fast. It was a transformation year which affected so many people around us. It was tough but we all went through it. 

Year 2021 did not promise a better life either. Perhaps, it could get worse as apart from the pandemic (more countries around the world had to be locked down), many calamities had happened too at some parts of the world (the missing plane and earthquakes in Indonesia).

The vaccines has come but the bad news is, not everyone is able to get it (especially those who have immune-related problems, allergy problems, and so on). Haiz... Even then, it was not proven to protect human from the virus 100% yet, especially when the new variant had also appeared lately in Europe. 

Nevertheless, I am thankful for what have happened into my life so far, and will continue to be thankful more what we have so far. My prayers and wishes that we all can survive and go through it all with positive mind, one step at a time. I believe everything happens for good reasons and whatever reasons, it always teaches us something and makes ourselves stronger each and every day. 

In the end, I hope book writers can publish more books at this point of time so that we can continue reading despite the pandemic. Fighting!!!

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Happy New Year 2021

Happy New Year 2021

The alarm played the Merry Christmas melody at 7.30 am (my daily wake-up time), waking me up from my sleep. I felt coolness from the untouched bed sheet surface surrounding me. Hhhhmmm.... I stretched my legs and arms as far as possible and slowly released my breath. 

The room was still dark as I drew my curtain close the night before. I headed to the toilet inside my room to release the bladder inside me that was full of water. Raining sound was heard from the window. Hmmm... no wonder it felt so cold... What a perfect morning to start with, especially when I did not have to go to work. Supposedly, it was a perfect day to continue sleeping. However, many things I wanted to do and I did not want to miss.

First thing first, breakfast. Hubby had to go to work, even on weekends. I took out 6 slices of bread from its packet, still freshly new. I spread the butter on each bread evenly. I put a slice of gammon ham and cheese on it, making 3 sets. I heated the oven before putting them inside for 10 minutes. While waiting, I washed the fresh salad, cut a piece of kiwi, put them inside the bowl, and added blueberry on top. At the separate small bowl, I poured the sesame dressing, a perfect companion for the salad bowl.

The water was boiling. Two empty cups with coffee powder were prepared, ready to be poured. Hmmm... the coffee smell was so great in such cooling morning!!! Tinggg!!! The oven timer was stopped as well and the toasts were all ready. I made 3 sets - one for hubby, one for myself, and another one for my sister-in-law (her packed breakfast to be consumed at her working place). Sometimes, when I was free like this, I prepared some breakfast for her as well, which brought some envy to her colleagues hehehe....

Simple breakfast and yet comes from the heart :)

Hubby and I sat down facing towards each other, slowly enjoying our breakfast. The music from the radio was played at the background, connected from my old mobile phone to the alarm clock cum speaker Bluetooth that we purchased from Taobao. I loved listening to the radio. Apart from listening to the music and DJ's speaking, I could also hear some latest news (well, I seldom watch news on TV. So, short news from radio or newspaper would be my only intake for news - not the fans of too much news though).

The door towards balcony was opened widely. From my seat, I could see the rain pouring down quite heavily. The sky was grayish and gloomy. The temperature was as low as 23 degree, felt like winter (very rarely we had such temperature in this tropical country of Singapore). That was why I loved Singapore when it came to January :)

As usual, hubby and I would have chit chat, about life, about our lives especially, on what was going on surrounding us, including what had happened to our growing up son. I loved such moments, where it was only us here, having our own time together, even it was only a short while. I did not like having my morning getting distracted by other sound (be it TV sound, people's visiting, and so on). 

And since today was Saturday, no one came to our house in the morning. In short while, hubby and sister-in-law went for work. Baobei was still sleeping, and mother-in-law had gone out since dawn (to her usual market and would not return until afternoon). So I have the whole morning by myself now. 

Yummmmm..... I devoured such moments. I decided to take out my dear love (Microsoft Surface Pro) and brought it together with my new diary (2021) plus journal, to the dining table. I poured the hot water over my Doraemon mug and filled it with the Japanese green tea's bag. The rain was still pouring and cooling air entered in slow pace throughout the door. It was beautiful!!! Happiness could be gained as simple as that, no matter where you were. 

Life is good :)

Here I am now, translating my feelings into words, typing it onto this blog post. As the year 2021 has began, I have so many things on my head to say, so many feelings to express. Yesterday I was working almost a whole day, therefore I had no time to do this (public holiday meant double pay, that was why I chose to work hahaha.... :P).

I  wanted to retrospect over what had passed throughout the year 2020 and think over of what to do in this year 2021. 

First of all, the retrospection. The year 2020 passed so swiftly. I still felt as if I was still in February or March, where the spread of Corona virus in Singapore had just begun. It developed so fast that the country had to go through the Circuit Breaker period. At that time, we thought that it was going to be over in few months' time. Who ever thought that even until now, the situation had not yet gotten better. It even got worst as the Covid-19 new variant was developed in UK recently. 

Today, the Covid-19 cases are still rampant anywhere in the world, including the small country like Bhutan. Healthcare staffs there (many of them I knew) were busy fighting the disease and had to wear protective gears to protect themselves from getting infected. It reminded me of my dear friend, Tashi Chenzom, who had left this world for over 9 months (she left on 28 March 2020). Sometimes I thought that it was good that she left early so she did not have to face this kind of situation. To this day, I still miss her and wonder where she is now (or where she has been born into).

With Covid-19, I have not had a chance to meet up with my parents and siblings who stay overseas. Lucky I still have a brother who live here in Singapore. The rest of them, we meet everyday in our What's App group chat, updating our lives each and everyday online. We missed our family gathering, our family holidays, and so on. 

When my mom was sick (due to high blood pressure), we were all helpless, did not know what to do to help her. She was not dare to visit clinic and hospital as there would be many Covid-19 patients visiting the places. She was lying on bed for few days, eating whatever medicine that they thought would help her. It did not work though, because it was not the right medicine to encounter it. Luckily my eldest sister managed to video call with her usual doctor and to get prescription from her. With the right medicine, she finally could feel better and the blood pressure had gone down. 

Year 2020 was also the year without travelling. Since no travel, I did not have much things to do too. It caused me to engage in many different activities. It was the year where I watched Korean drama the most, watched various movies online, tried many different recipes, read books, and so on. Until one day I decided to do a part-time job to kill time and find my passion back. It has been 4.5 months now and it has been getting better. But many staffs (both full time and part time) were leaving to pursue different or better job prospects. Changes were never avoidable in any type of situations or places. And we could only accept and adapt. I would no more put an emphasis on feeling sadness or loss anymore. Just acceptance, let go, and adapt into new situation.

When the time passes so fast, unknowingly, we are getting old each day. My son had turned to 18 last month and had girlfriend too. He had even openly announced his relationship by posting their photos in his Instagram story yesterday. We, the parents, could no longer treat him like a baby anymore. He had often missed our dinner session at home as he went out for dinner and date with his girlfriend during this school-holiday term. When love was still in the air, the rest was transparent like ghost. Hahaha...

I am grateful that throughout year 2020, I was blessed with few group or circle of friends whom I had chance to meet often with. We met like once in a month or more (as and when both party was free). Like we all know, as we grow up, it is not numbers of friends that matter, but just few close ones that really matter to us that worth to keep. That too includes those who are far apart. Due to this pandemic, there was no chance for us to meet ( I had to forgo my UK and France trip that I planned this May), and no way in meeting others who were living all over the world. But I just want you to know, despite we live apart, your presence was always living in my hearts (you know who you are - all my dear friends everywhere around the world :) ).

Quotes 2021 (Pic source: Google.com)

Now year 2021 is here. When I chatted with my friends, sometimes we mentioned of our plans and goals, of what is next. Not only plan for this year 2021, but for many years ahead. One favorite topic was where will you plan to live on your retirement days? 

Although the retirement age in Singapore is planned to be 68 in year 2022, and still many decades lie between now and then, many of my friends have already thought and planned about it from now on. Majority of those who live in Singapore (even my Taiwanese friend) wanted to spend their old days in Thailand. Low living cost is one of the major reasons (cost of renting or buying apartment there, cost of owning vehicle, daily living cost - like food, clothing, etc.). The comfort and safety level as almost 95% of its population is Buddhist. The weather can be cooling at some season in northern area of Thailand. My friend had even learned the language so that she could communicate well with local.

Many of my Bhutan friends who are working here have planned of buying plot of land or upgrading what they already had back home. With it, they plan to build an apartment to rent, or making holiday guest house for tourists. Therefore, they save their earnings here and live their lives modestly for now.

When we were talking about all these plans, I was asking myself in my heart. What was mine? And to be honest, I have no plan. My mind is blank. Nothing. 

I live my life - day by day. Whatever comes, let it comes. As life is full of uncertainties, there is no point for me to plan too far ahead. First, due to health condition. My risk of uncertainties is far much higher than the rest. It might come anytime, anywhere. And I have no idea how long more I could live (really no idea what may come).

Second, I am happy and grateful with present moment. I have roof to stay, food to eat, clothes to wear. I live in a good country, with good weather, good political stability, safe country. I have numbers of good friends, loving families, loving parents, siblings, good relations with relatives and so on. I have job and good colleagues and managers. I can do things I love doing, have lots of freedom, get mostly what I want. And it is all enough. 

That is why I never think of moving somewhere else. Because for me, as long as I am healthy and happy, this place is good enough to live. It is a good hub place to travel everywhere too. So not necessary staying elsewhere and start all over again. If I like a place, I can just book hostel and travel for 2 weeks to a month and enjoy the place and its life temporarily. No need to headache on so many things and create more troubles. such as unnecessary paperwork, and so on.

With sickness on hand, I was not able to get insurance policy to protect me on bad time. And yes, the hospital fee is really expensive in Singapore. But as Singapore citizen, we are getting the subsidy from the government. And up to this day, our Singapore government is taking care the elder generation  and low-income families quite well. I mean, government in many countries does not giving so much privileges or benefits to their citizens. Therefore, I am grateful enough for everything.

Every one of us thinks differently about life, so do I. I do not need to stay in private apartment or condominium, or upgrade to five-room flat. I do not need to have car because I can travel comfortably with MRT, public bus, and Grab car. I do not need to eat at high class restaurant or purchase exorbitant prices food just to be happy. Any food that fits the purpose and keep my stomach warm and full are more than enough. I can let go my desire and settle for less as long I can live. Cheap biscuits and cheap tea sachet? No problem at all. I can still be very happy with it as long as it serves the purpose. Home baked muffin and not those come from famous bakery, that costs so much? Even better, because it is filled with love. Whatever comes with love, it does not have to be so good or expensive. It still fits the purpose. And it makes me happy :)

I do not need branded clothes and bags. Just normal shirts and any bags that fits the purpose are enough. There is no need for me to show off. As long it serves the purpose and makes me happy, that is enough. And so on.

I do not say that planning for future is bad. It is good. It is just, it does not applicable for me. My daily goal in life is to be healthy and happy. That is.

The good healthy mindset and positive outlooks are much needed to face any challenges that comes in life. Instead, I spend my time to be aware, to think and to do better in any situation. I have learnt many things from the past and not wanting to repeat the same mistakes again. I know I am still lacking in many part, especially preparing myself for future's life (after death). In fact, no preparation at all. Just focus on present moment and do what I shall do. That is all.

Well, what about you readers? 

Quote by Rick Warren

I bumped into a quote saying, "Lives do not change just because it is the New Year. Lives change when Mindsets change." - Rageshwari. 

Think about what kind of life you want to live and focus your mind towards it. Accept the changes. Learn to let go. And adapt with it. 

With this post and my thought sharing, I wish all of you a good health and lots of happiness this year to come. Be safe and take care everyone. Love you all :)

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