Tuesday, September 12, 2017



Life on Saturdays is taking a new turn.

Here’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for – that the hubby will finally want to do something in a natural setting, and the rest of us will follow. Because I will follow him, but if I tried to drag him to a park with my agenda, I doubt he'd co-operate.


* KK and kids

* The man's new hobby. Or a watch ad?

I don’t know if it will last.

At the moment the factors are not in place for sustainability. It’s a one-man hobby not a family hobby. Day is not particularly keen. The girls are certainly not, and I have zero interest in fishing. I don't like fish, apart from eating them.

But I’ll try my level best to engage the kids as KK does his fishing thing. God knows I love nature, it certainly ranks above malls and museums in my book.

How did it go?

Once the rod arrived, KK randomly hit a fishing spot somewhere in Singapore. Nothing for a while, as he and Day figured out how to keep the fishing line from tangling, and struggled with other teething problems. They practiced casting, which I’ve figured is how to throw the line out accurately to where you want it to go, and then reel it back in.


* Untangling the lines

* Practising casting

Then the fish started biting.

First time we went, I think they caught nine fish. Six for KK, three for Day. KK danced like a little boy. He was thrilled.

* KK's first ever fish, caught 7 September

* One rod, two boys

(I think it’s important to note that their bait is artificial, not live stuff, and that once caught, they release the fish back into the stream.)

* Removing the hook from the fish's mouth

* KK throwing the fish back

Looking down into the shallow water from the bridge, one sees heaps of fish, all facing one direction, uniformly spaced out, hovering in one spot despite the current, which is really quite odd. It's like they're just waiting to be caught.

* Day watching KK

Day was black-faced the first trip, but much happier second time around when he caught a relative biggie.

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The girls and I?

We get on our skate scooters, explore the green, check out nearby playgrounds if any and sweat it out. 

* Loads of lovely green. Sweaty, hot and mosquito-ey though


* Got myself a Mo!




* Jo and her fishball

* Lu drawing

* Lu, with kindle, long socks (with slippers) and jacket in the hot park!

Occasionally, Jo joins the boys. She wants me to take a photo of her fishing to put on her Instagram account but she hasn't actually tried fishing yet.

* Umbrella, very important


Sunday, September 10, 2017

new passions

Not us, exactly, but of family members.


This is Choon’s new love.

He’s pretty crazy about photography these days. He doesn’t have a ton of equipment – excepting three tripods – but he derives his weekend joy from cycling or going around to new places taking photographs.

Every time he notices something, it’s using his photographer's eye. Like – Oh the sky is pink! What a waste, I should be taking a photograph of it at Marina Bay. Or – Oh this playground is so old and interesting, I want to take a photo of it.

How and why did he develop this passion? Who knows?

When I take photos, I like to show people expressing emotions, in their natural state (not the “say cheese” kind) and interacting. My favourite photos are the type where the subject might look at it and say - Aiyoh I look so ugly!

His photos are people-less. Excepting the odd photo where Phoebe is standing solo in the shot, his eye is architectural, structural, based on lines. He shows me photos on his laptop, and just swiftly glancing through the rows and rows, what you primarily see are shapes. People are peripheral: blurs and shadows.

I asked him for some of his favourites:

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2017 07 09_3245

2017 07 02_3043

2017 07 01_3112

2017 06 11_2867

2017 06 10_2815


On KK’s side of the family, his sister, Liyen’s mum, has started a floral arranging business named after – who else? – her dear little daughter!

Of late, their house has been filled with the most beautiful blooms, arranged in customized cylindrical paper boxes.


Chyeling's another person who is intrinsically artistic. She draws very well, can even design and sew clothes, and has great taste (it shows in her floral arrangements) but who ended up being a tax officer from the time she graduated until now.

Who knows what she might have been if Singapore had been a little more flexible?

Friday, September 08, 2017

cycling sibs

What my father, Choon and I have in common is a love of cycling. It’s a lifelong thing. Pa still cycles to the market and goes on long rides.

There’s something about being able to hop on a set of wheels and get to places and see the world using leg power, with the breeze against your face, being able to stop anywhere you want.

Teng, like Mum, can’t balance on a bike to save his life.

As for KK and the kids, KK has not cycled for a year or more. He just seems to have gone off it entirely and his two beautiful bikes, the customised one and the Super Six, have become balcony art pieces which are ageing organically under the ravages of the sun and the rain.

The kids, I think, enjoy cycling. But the barriers to their cycling has become very high, so high that they hardly get a chance to.

(I don’t want to lug all the bikes down three storeys and while Day and Jo are capable of it, its hard work which compels them to say – Ah forget it let’s not cycle. And each time we go I have to pump up all the bike tyres as they have become flat from dis-use. KK also doesn’t join us which means it’s not Family Time)

So that means me cycling alone. And on occasion – well only one so far – I cycle with Choon.

One night I hop on a Obike near Phoebe’s home (I love these bike apps, bless them) and join him on his night ride.

What I thought would be a short jaunt becomes a leisurely 17km ride over an hour. What joy, though!

* Both of us slipper cyclists at Gardens by the Bay East


Wednesday, September 06, 2017


The Kindle has joined Lu’s suite of armour. It’s perfect for her. Every time I buy her a book it pains me when she looks up two hours later and tells me she’s done.

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How is the Kindle any different? It’s linked to KK’s credit card so he’s the one paying, not me!

KK chafes when she wants to buy several books a day, which happens most days. So sometimes she pays for her books. She bought David Walliam’s Awful Auntie for about $7+, she offered KK $8 (because she only has $2 notes from her Chinese New Year stash), he kindly gave her a discount and took $6 instead.

The Kindle also saves her having to haul a library into her little haversack whenever we go out.

Monday, September 04, 2017

por por’s birthday wish

(All photos by Choon using his better camera. I'm lazy these days)

The drumroll moment: When Por Por makes a wish for her 71st birthday.

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Nobody has to say it. Even the kids know what it is. Por Por is single-mindedly straining towards that goal. She is hoping for a second success.

Teng, next to her, starts to squirm.

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* Blowing out all the candles with great gusto and enthusiasm while Teng ponders his fate and what role her birthday wish will play in it

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Day mutters: Aiya if he doesn’t want to get married just leave him alone lah.

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* Miserably under pressure, seeking solace with Bibi

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* Cake-cutting. It's always me

Saturday, September 02, 2017

hair poem


Cut my hair yesterday,
Pulled out from the class today.
"Your hair is really unacceptable,
The time to cut it was very ample"
Then tell me who am I to know
That Danil isn't that trustable. 
Later that day, 
school was ending and my mind was beginning to stray. 
Then a sweaty teacher came into the room.
"Oh no, its Mr Tay"
My heart started to pound,
And Mr Tay started to hound,
As I had an unfinished worksheet to hand up.
Then before I knew it, he shouted at me to stay back,
Showing the class I was a slacker.
And with that school ended,
Leaving me behind apprehended. 
So I took a deep breath and completed the worksheet,
Got on the bus and took a seat, 
Relieved that it was all over. 
"Oh crap!" I thought in my mind as I saw
That there was Taekwondo at four!

We don’t get calls from teachers. This is a good thing, for when teachers call its usually bad news.

Between the trio, I have never got a call for Jo or Lu. For Day, we’ve got a couple of calls this year, I think it’s the school policy for the student to call up the parent in front of the teacher when they fail to hand in pieces of work.

Recently, KK got a call. It was probably one of the more severe calls we have gotten. It related to Day’s hair.

See, the day before, the school did checks. They deemed that his hair was over-long. Day’s friend, Danil, a very handsome stylish fellow with eyelashes so thick it looks like eye-liner and hair all swept up in a curry puff, brought Day to his personal hair-dresser in the vicinity of the school.

Day got his hair cut on his own, and paid $6 for it.

* Self-portrait at the hair salon

What it was, was the most stylish and extreme hair cut he’s ever had. Shaved at the sides, tufty on top. Punk, is the word I’d use. KK and I went wah, and thought that was the end of it.


The next day, the teacher pulled him out again. Apparently, the hair style gave off a gangster vibe. Day seethed. Because he felt the haircut was OK and because he felt that there were many others in school with similar cuts, but who gelled it in ways to mask the punkiness of it. He felt he had been unfairly singled out.

In the bus on his way home, he was so inspired he wrote his poem, "Scolded". The first, and perhaps the last poem he’ll ever write in his life because he has never shown any poetic inclination.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

no more fairies

This morning, shortly after I woke Lu up, she rubbed the sleep from her eyes and came up to me with a bag in hand.

Inside the bag, to my great surprise, was a tiny pearly tooth. It apparently dropped the night before but as I was out, she didn’t tell me. Even when I returned, caught sight of the bowl of soapy water which she had used to rinse the tooth in and asked “What’s that?”, she shook her head and said nothing.

The tooth lay under her pillow in that bag the entire night, untouched and unclaimed.

There was a note on the bag:

IMG_3769 (2)
* The "other" letter refers to this

Then there was a sound. Of my heart breaking! There goes the last bastion of innocence and naivety and belief in all things magical in this household!

Her heart, however, didn’t break. She laughed! “After the last note, I only believed in the tooth fairy 30 percent. Now I believe zero percent.” And she still wanted the dollar.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

teacher’s day happenings

Teacher’s Day in Singapore doesn’t take place on 1 September anymore. It took me a while to realize that. I think the date changes, falling just before the September one-week holidays so the teachers get a real break. The best gift for the teachers is not to teach.

The girls focus on making fabulous gifts for their school teachers and don’t want me interfering (which is great because I hear of parents doing all the work which I suppose I could… but I don’t really want to). They use a lot of the material which came from my friend.

Lu: She prefers to give cutesy whimsical home-made stuff.

* Cakes she sewed (with some help from me) using felt wool

* Lu's cards, on which she writes a lot of thoughts

Jo: She prefers to give very practical items. Sweets, a red pen.


* Jo's cards, on which she writes nothing but "Happy Teacher's Day". She had drafted out paragraphs telling her teachers what she liked about them, but she decided not to include her words (to my great dismay, despite what I told her last year) because she says, "I don't want the teachers to know what I think of them. It will be so weird if they see me in class and they know what I think."

* Jo's pop-out card

However, they dead refuse to devote any effort to teachers outside-of-home (like piano and Chinese tuition teacher).

Day did nothing, as usual. Is this a boy thing?

The day after, the girls excitedly troop over to Por Por’s to run through her stash of Teacher’s Day presents. They do this every year, and I think its an annual highlight for them. They take almost the entire pile. Por Por also directs them to the fridge where they help themselves to some of her chocolates.


They see Por Por throw away some of the more generic cards her students give her. She teaches over 500 kids in the school music, kids don't usually have much to say to music teachers they see once a week. (I cannot imagine how many things form teachers, or popular teachers, receive) 

Jo whispers, horrified, “Is that what my teacher is going to do with my card?” (I think Jo spent an entire man-day on her cards)

Oh dear.