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8 Days Itinerary Roadtrip in Iceland (For The Lazy Person)

I like luxury. I like comfort, and I HATE roughing it out. So when Abel and I decided on a on-the-road camping honeymoon to Iceland I was a...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

24! The end of year edition

Merry Christmas everyone! It's been a crazy year of ups and downs: I got engaged, I had some trouble with a lawsuit, finally found my footing in a job I love, wrote a script for church and had it performed in front of thousands, lost a couple of friends, gained many more friends and.. so.. much.. more.. I thoroughly enjoyed 2014.

Who knew that in the span of one year so many things would change! Turning 24 is no big deal to most, but I think it's my most significant birthday cause so many things have happened and I feel at peace with myself. Today, I'm chilling in bed after Christmas, and though a particularly nasty period cramp is wreaking my morning, I still feel like I'm on top of the world.

Mid-20s power trip? No. I'm overwhelmed by the knowledge that I am greatly blessed, highly favoured and deeply loved.

It's been a great year with so many things happening (and a few bad things, but forget the bad and remember the good) and I just want to take the time to list them out cause the best way - for me anyway - to remember anything is by writing it down.

I'm engaged!


Oh my. I can't begin to stress what a big change this is for me. Aged 18 to 20 I always went about professing the same thing, "I'm NEVER getting married till I'm 30. I want to concentrate on my career." I waved that big career girl flag around and laughed, hard, when I heard stories of friends getting married way too early. "Why would you do that?!" I asked them, "don't you want your freedom?"

Now I know, I still have my freedom, but I'm enjoying it with someone I love. And that's a wonderful thing I think. Being able share this little pause in eternity we call life. And that wonderful man and I are both growing together, learning more from each other and supporting each other in our careers together. It's wonderful. Disgustingly cheesy enough, I really feel like a character in those Mills and Boons trashy novels, my heart is overwhelmed by the love I feel for someone else and I hope it never changes. Of course there are days where I wanna rip his head off and think he is horribly chauvinistic but most of the time he is my best friend who is so much fun to be around with. 

I can't wait for our next adventure! 

By the way, the big day will be 12 Dec 2015, which means this blog is gonna be chock full of bridal stuff soon. 

I've graduated and found an awesome job.

Not many people can say they have a job they love. And i'm lucky to count myself as one of the few who do. It wasn't easy getting here though. It took my years to get this job and countless internships. But I think it all worked out for the best. 

Working at Home and Decor has opened up a whole new world to me and I'm exposed to so many great new brands and experiences. I get to learn about the colour of the year, visit strangers' houses and get first peek at things before they even hit the shelves! Most importantly, I get to wax lyrical about it and ask people questions about anything and everything. The kaypo auntie in me is loving it.

My scripts have been picked up for several church plays!

Might not seem like much to many of you.. But to me, watching scripts that I wrote in school performed by talented actors kinda fills me with a soft, quiet pride that swells and overwhelms me. And you know what, I never realize how funny my scripts are till they're actually performed. 

Many thanks to those who took part in the Father's Day play:

Cupids, and the Christmas Toy Play at Suntec Convention atrium! 

I was so touched to watch them
Being performed!

Here's to more great scripts in 2015! I wanna do something bigger and better! 

I keep winning stuff!

Is it cause I'm happy? I really don't know, but all this joyous, less stressed out energy has made me much brighter and much more cheerful, which makes winning all these great things even MORE wonderful! 

I'm so blessed. I can't even.. I don't know but God's blessed with some great things and you can't even say this is rigged cause most of the things I've won is truly is by luck! 

Abel and I won the CityRadio contest where we did a cover of For All You've Done and played the cup song while we were at it:



I went along with Jes and Wei Qi to the Hilton wedding showcase just to keep them company and I won the lucky draw for a trip for two to the Conrad Maldives! I have to say, it truly was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.



During a media event at XTRA they had a little tongue twister contest, for people to read out the She Sell Seashells:

She sells seashells by the seashore.
The shells she sells are surely seashells.
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I'm sure she sells seashore shells.

And the winner would win a Eames fibreglass rocking chair! I won!


Then of course there have been little things as well, like winning 2nd prize in the office lucky draw, winning a chest full of goodies from Singapore Trading Post at another media event, getting $200 vouchers and a free pass to the Epicurean Market 2014... It's been a roller coaster of blessings. And honestly, where got so coincidental that I keep winning right? I tell you it's God's blessing.



Plus I feel as though I've more or less got my life sorted. I bought insurance, I'm slowly slowly saving money, I have a HDB flat along the way, I'm getting married next year and I'm in a stable career! Of course my globe trotting adventures have yet to begin, but that's just in a matter of time!

Not going to lie, there were some downs. Like the car insurance incident... Let's not bring that up. Plenty of quarrels and a few set backs. But still 90% more awesome in the year! I'm really looking forward to what 2015 has to bring!

I'm so grateful and I want to give back. I really do. I want to volunteer to build houses or help in the missions field but I don't know where to start.. So I started small. Participating in the Boys Brigade Share A Gift... hahaha small but, at least I tried right!

After the wedding craziness next year, I think I want to attempt this:


Do some good, have some fun and learn new things. I have plenty of friends who have done stuff like this, so its just a matter of reaching out. haha.

Anyways, to end my post, I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Be blessed and be thankful for all that you have. :)




Sunday, August 16, 2015

My struggle with Chinese and the difficulties of shopping on Taobao

I think it's safe to say anyone who knows me knows I can barely speak or write Mandarin to save my life.

Yes, I'm Chinese, yes yes, I've been blessed with HOURS of tuition, courtesy of my long-suffering parents, But honestly, Chinese just won't stick! I seriously contemplated dropping it and heading straight for CLB (Chinese Language B) for my O levels but my mother was against it as it meant I would never get into JC.

Not that I had any intention of going, but knowing that I could go and rejected the opportunity seemed like the better option.

But come the O Levels. Lo and behold, I scrapped through with a C6. I think the examiner and markers took pity on me.

My improbable pass was too much for my Sec 4 Chinese teacher - before the O levels she had thrown in the towel and said most like I would fail and have to retake. When I told her I passed, her shoulders literally rose upwards and light came back into her eyes. She... gave me a hug. And she was teary-eyed.

I suppose moments like those were meant to be touching, awe-inspiring and a reminder for all aspiring teachers that they make a difference in the lives of hopeless cases like myself.

I just felt awkward and embarrassed.

Looking back, that was nice of her. But I still feel a bit awkward now. I suppose I have a deep appreciation for personal space.

But my point is, my Chinese SUCKS. It's awful. I recently sent my friend's mother home in the car, and I remember just thinking, "when will this drive end", "must I say anything to her?", "How does one make conversation in Mandarin?", "What's the pinyin for "Have a good night? I know the words, but how do you pronounce it?!" PANIC. I can barely speak to my own grandmother in Mandarin without my short sentences sounding as though they came out of an autotune machine.

My ill-informed cousin from Australia, requested I be his Mandarin MC for his Singapore wedding. Two sentences into my introduction and my grandmother loudly and unabashedly, shushed me and told me to stop in Mandarin.

I immediately switched to English after my humiliating muzzling.

I had hoped that I would never have to deal with Chinese in detail ever again. I don't know who I was kidding cause Taobao soon hit the internet.

Shopper's paradise! You could buy EVERYTHING from sanitary fittings to a whole LIVE pig. The only catch was that it was in Mandarin.

I avoided it like the plague, pooh-poohing it to hide the fact that I was DYING to shop online but just couldn't cause of the language problem. I watched on in envy as friends had boxes upon boxes delivered to their homes for a fraction of local prices. Finally, I took a deep breath and took the plunge.

I'd start with buying stuff for my wedding.

"I'm just looking for boxes." I told my friend as I typed taobao.com into my address bar for the first time.

Really. How to read?! SO MANY CHINESE CHARACTERS!

Jeslin kindly walked me through the whole process and helped me picked the boxes. She asked if I needed to help to pay, but I wanted to shop more. I was looking to shop a lot more. Tucked into bed and armed with Google Translate and a credit card I marched in with a vengeance ,alone.

I went in confident from my friend's tutorial but came out battered, bruised and defeated.

It was like Chinese O Levels all over again.

The words. SO many! SO SMALL. How to read? I remember hyperventilating over some product information that couldn't be translated because they were saved as an image. I couldn't highlight, copy and paste into Google translate!

I was hoping to walk away from the battle with boxes of loot. But a hour into my Taobao venture and my shopping cart only had the boxes Jeslin had found for me and 40 white marker pens.

Clothes, bags, shoes... all left on the battle floor. The Chinese characters and descriptions had defeated me.

I thought the worst was over, so I comforted myself with the fact that I bought SOME items and went straight to payment.

Jeslin had introduced me to a Taobao agent (NOT 65Daigou) who charged considerably lower shipping rates. She warned me that his method of payment would be a little more complicated than expected. I tried to brave through it.

IT WAS TOO TOUGH. I ended up in tears. I had problems logging in, saving a password, registering my phone and even problems talking to their cute little interactive FAQ cartoon character that hangs on the right side of the page. GOOGLE TRANSLATE WAS USELESS.

Taobao asked me to registered my passport number, upload my ID card etc etc. I caved and asked my friend and she clarified that I had NO NEED for all those things. I was confused. Her explanation confused me too, because she had to use the Chinese characters to illustrate where and how I was going to make payment.

"Okay, okay. Thank you so much! I get it now!" I gushed to her about an hour later. She hung up. I still hadn't paid. I only told her I was done because I could sense her growing frustration, and Taobao's not gonna ruin a friendship for me. No sir.

So I continued staring, but this time, I google translated THE WHOLE PAGE.

Turns out, I had been shopping as a person living in China, which is why they wanted my passport number etc. I had completely missed the option for payment as a shopper from other countries. That was why I was struggling so much.

I burst into tears. Two hours. It took me two hours just to get to the right payment page. It brought back that sense of horror, frustration and hopelessness I had from every test I had in school. I had even worked it the same way I did for Chinese comprehension, I just copied chunks of text and assumed that I had answered the whole thing.

I'm calm now.

It's over. I paid.

Now I sit and wait, don't know when the shipment will come, I couldn't understand the email.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mrs Yap

Well, today is special! Abel and I did something that I never thought I'd do so early in life..


We registered!

Tomorrow, 14 Feb 2015, Pastor Aries will be marrying Abel and I under the eyes of God. But today, we got married under the eyes of the law! And like all things government, it was very clinical.

Literally. I mean look at the waiting room:


Even our facilitator, tucked away in a little cubicle behind the glass door said, "actually it's a polyclinic!" Hahahaha! She was lovely, Serene (or was it Serena?) Goh. Abel mentioned they should string baubles and streamers across the ceiling and she affably pointed to the solemnisation room and said the decorations were all in there.

The process was simple, we sat in her cubicle, checked through several signatures, and made a declaration, not of our love, but of the fact that we were not illegal immigrants, underage and secretly married. It was very romantic. We also had to raise our right hand and swear fealty to the Singapore government:


Hahaha! Nah, we just read off words to declare that we will comply to the laws of marriage. Romance.

But yes, I'm officially MARRIED TO ABEL YAP!


Pardon the make-up-less face. I was very tired. 

Anyways, we're off on our way to lunch at Al Forno (I decided to give my lao gong a pre-Valentine's Day celebration!) and drove off from ROM to the sounds of Natalie Cole's This Will Be (An Everlasting Love). 

Also, our first conversation as a married couple was to talk about our bowel movements the night before. Romance


Monday, January 19, 2015

Doctor's orders: Weight loss through an appetite suppressant

Yesterday I casually mentioned to my doctor that I wanted to lose weight for the wedding in December and asked about the weight-loss clinics in hospitals.

He offered, instead, Duromine. I see no reason not to mention the name of the drug, cause it's a prescription drug you can only get in clinics.




I don't know about you, but I'm not comfortable with drugs, pills, supplements and whatnot, so I looked skeptical. Then equally as casual, as he scribbled into his tablet PC, he said, "but eat can die one lah."

WHAT. "Then I don't want lah!" I told him.

"But eat chicken you can also die." I glared at him. "Eat fish also can die." Seriously he was not helping. "Drink water ALSO can die." I couldn't tell if he was joking or not cause he kept scribbling notes in his tablet. "Nothing is without risks."

I don't know if that was supposed to reassure me, and it's not like I had nothing to lose (I like staying alive okay) so I was very very skeptical. Plus remember the Andrea D'Cruz saga many years back where Pierre Png had to give her his kidney? That was stark in my mind and I had a vision of myself lying on a table next to Abel and he's saying, "Just one kidney only okay babe."

*sigh*

But then the doctor, sensing my discomfort, said, "it's very different from those you buy at Watsons. Those are just supplements, this is an approved drug so it has been tested safe. Please don't ever take those celebrity endorsed drugs." 

What is Duromine
I still wasn't sure what Duromine was, so he explained that it unlike those celebrity endorsed drugs it was an appetite suppressant that took away the longing to eat. 

The whole idea is to put in less than what comes out. Lose 4,000 calories a day but eat 4,000 calories on the same day, and what happens? Nothing. There's no change. It's like your bank. Spend $1,000 and save $1,000 in the same day. No gain, no loss. What you want to do is lose. Eat less. Exercise more. - says Wise Doctor
I said, "actually I'm not always hungry you see. My problem is that I love food. I LOVE FOOD DOCTOR." He looked at me, cause I practically shouted at him, "I mean, I'm just greedy..."

"It's the same thing lah."

Okay no Doc, it is not. As a writer, I was appalled you thought so.

He then suggested trying it for a month first. "Why don't you give it a try. If it doesn't work, you can stop." He looked at me, but was still scribbling on his table, this time he was signing my MC. No wonder Doctor's handwriting is always so illegible. 

"How much is it?" Cause no way in hell was I going to pay freaking $100+ for a drug that might kill me and probably  possibly do jack for my wonderland. (geddit? My body is a wonderland? HAHAHA. lame.)

"$38 for a month."

"Wah so cheap! Okay, I want!" I said all ready to sacrifice my wonderland for $38 pills. 

He rolled his eyes, and then rolled up his sleeve.

I shrunk back, sure he was gonna inject me with something.

But no, he was just showing me his watch. The black, round-faced watch had a step counter. "Giving you this appetite suppressant doesn't mean you can skip out on exercise completely, I suggest getting a step counter. Something like this. Ah. Look, I only walked slightly over 2,000 steps today." He shook his head and rolled down his sleeve. "So little. Try and walk at least 10,000 steps a day. That would be enough. Walk up the stairs, drop one bus stop away and walk back, a little bit everywhere helps especially if your job is sedentary."

I nodded earnestly, and he asked for my height and weight to determine if I was allowed to take the pill. Apparently if you're at a healthy BMI of 24 you can't have any. Obviously, I am not, so I got one month's worth.

"One a day only. Take it in the morning. You might experience heart palpitations, insomnia, and sometimes anxiety. Nothing to worry about, it's normal. But if you can't handle it, just stop taking the pills," he explained.

I gulped. "okay." Better tell my family and Abel that I love them before I start.

I walked home and inspired by my doctor, I turned on the step counter of my iPad and promptly forgot my house keys. I climbed up 12 flights of stairs to my home before the clinic called to let me know what I forgot. I went back down and back up again the second time. 1,547 steps. Quite an achievement for my first day I felt.

But lighthearted and whatnot, I was still pretty anxious about taking the pills. I mean, CAN DIE LEI. You not scared, I scared. So I Googled.

Online reviews

I popped by Diet Spotlight it gave an overview of the drug, ratings and plenty of reviews and comments from users.

Some were negative, "nothing happened even after three months". 

Some were very very positive, "I weighed at 183kg and 186cm started in Duromine for 8weeks. Now I'm at 160kg." Many of the positive ones were those who had done some form of exercise. 

Some were just down right crazy, "I have asked my doctor for a prescription but he will not give them to me. I have asked another doctor but just get the same answer. Why is this? All I want it to look good on my wedding day, I don't understand why these young doctors won't prescribe them!" - clearly addicted.

But most gave helpful tips on side effects to look out for:
  • Aching joints - Just take some joint supplements to help
  • Dry mouth - Drink a buttload of water
  • Bad BO - Deoderant obviously
  • Anxiety and heart palpitations - Take several deep breaths
  • Insomnia - Take the pill at 5am or 6am in the morning and it should wear off just before you go to bed.
  • Pimples - Take contreceptive pills to help clear your skin
I think the comment that hit me the hardest was this:
"I have been on Duromine 30mg for a month now. On top of that I’ve stopped snacking. I don’t drink. I eat smaller portions and have a salad at work every day. The only thing I haven’t been doing regularly is exercise. I have lost only ONE kilo. Why aren’t I able to lose weight even on these?"
This person clearly answered his own question. He didn't exercise. So I need to remember, that I need to take out more than I put in. Which means I should do some form of cardio everyday. Some guy walks 5km everyday and lost 15kg.

Side note
I remembered reading Xiaxue's blog post on her weight loss too, from 48kg to 38kg and she mentioned a appetite suppressant that wasn't available in Singapore in 2012 and it also began with the letter D. (!!!!!!) Duromine perhaps? 


Either way, I'm giving this a shot. 
DAY 1

Day 1 today, and I said a nice long prayer before popping the pill. I was hungry in the morning, so I had one char siew bao. But since then.. I haven't been hungry at all. Which is surprising, I get greedy when I'm bored or stressed and I'm pretty stressed at work (because all three blog posts I was doing for the Home and Decor website CRASHED and I had to redo it all over again. THREE TIMES.) but not once did I have to go munch on something besides my bao. And it was a small 60cents bao!

But my mouth is very very very dry, and I need to drink a crap-ton of water. Plus I've already experienced the heart palpitations. Duhduhduhduhduhuduh. That's the sound of my heart pounding away in my chest. BANG BANG BANG duhduhduhduhduh. HAHAHAH crazy. I attribute any nonsense, including speaking really quickly (sorry Lou, Hannah and Addie!) to the pills. Cause it's making me feel as though I'm on red bull. And for those of you who've never seen me on Red Bull, I once sprinted up three floors of Millenia Institute after half a can of Red Bull, jumped onto my chair to watch the physics student swing around a pendulum and yelled at them, "WHY ARE YOU SWINGING BALLS." Before Tara pulled me down and shushed me like the good mama she is. I miss Tara and the rest. 

- That's all for today folks -