28.3.15

#RememberingLKY



It's a sad week for Singapore. My sis and I, along with my 1 year-old nephew, Elliott in tow headed to the Parliament House yesterday after a few spontaneous text exchange. Both of us are neither fervent patriots or the sort to follow and delve deep into politics, but no words were needed to explain to each other why we wanted to join the throng of people in the long queue. We just knew that we wanted to go.

We joined the priority queue opened for those with children below the age of 6, elderly above the age of 60, pregnant ladies and the disabled. We queued for close to 3 hours and the whole experience has restored all my faith in humankind and in Singapore. We will be ok.

When we arrived at City Hall, a random stranger and kind samaritan told us that a priority queue was available for us to join. Along the way, sun-baked volunteers offered us drinks and fans fashioned out of cardboard - their poor faces were all red and sunburnt! Elliott was getting really cranky mid-way whilst we were in the queue but people around us spontaneously played with him and cajoled him to hang-in-there. It made the wait with a baby in tow so much easier. I also saw random aunties offering young kids snacks and biscuits that they have brought along. 

Everyone seemed extra patient, kind and there was an unspeakable spirit of bonding in the air. No one seemed to really mind the wait. Now, who said that Singaporeans are emotionless? I think Mr Lee would have been proud. 

For the past couple of days, I've been trawling through articles and videos on the internet finding out more about our founding father. I also got a glimpse into his personal life through articles written by his daughter, Lee Wei Ling along the way. Whilst we may not all agree on some of his policies and methods of governance, what is clear to us, and to me is simply, the work that he has done for Singapore. It is all around us - the beautiful city landscape, world class bilingual education, efficient transport systems, safe drinking water from the taps...and the likes that go on and on.

His foresight, perseverance, dedication and sheer hard work has brought our tiny dot of a country to where it is today - a gleaming first world oasis that we can all proudly call home. Before this week, I admit that I've always taken Singapore for granted. I often complained about the humid weather, lack of 'fun things to do' and 'fun places to go', and wished I was in another country where we could take long drives out to scenic places with cool weather.

This week has brought me into perspective. To appreciate what has been done and the little things around me - to still be able to enjoy pockets of greenery despite being on a tiny island, to be able to walk around in the dead of the night without fear and as a frequent traveler, to be able to speak 2 languages and travel to most countries without the need of a visa or any delays at customs because I held a Singapore passport. 

Apart from appreciating Singapore, what struck a chord with me most of all, and appealed to my sentimental side was that above all the political greatness, there was also love. This sentimental side of me was most touched by his great love for his wife. So, it is possible for a man to have both a wonderful career and love! It is admirable how this giant in the political world was so tender, caring and dedicated to his lifelong partner.  


He told her: “We have been together for most of our lives. You cannot leave me alone now. I will make your life worth living in spite of your physical handicap.”
She replied: “That is a big promise.”
Papa said: “Have I ever let you down?”
---

In a few ways, the love story between Mr Lee and his wife reminds me that of my late grandparents' towards their last few years together as man and wife. My grandfather left before my grandmother and similarly, my grandmother's health deteriorated after his death (although at a much quicker speed) and she went from an almost fully healthy functioning person to her deathbed in just about 3 months. 

Here's a little back story:

Close to my grandfather's 100th day of passing (The Chinese believe that the dead will move on into another realm 100 days after their death), my grandmother told us that she had dreamt of my grandfather. She said that he had asked her to join him where he was, or she would not be able to find him after he has gone to the next realm. After that dream, my grandmother had a fall one night, and passed away shortly after. 

You guessed right. She passed away on my grandfather's 100 day of passing.

I'm probably being sentimental, but Mr Lee Kuan Yew also often reminded me of my grandfather. My sis and I just remarked a few days ago that they both spoke English in a similar fashion. When my grandfather was alive, he often reminded me that he was born in the same year as Mr Lee, 1923. He would share stories from the past, way before I was born and note the changes that Singapore has seen and gone through. 

I am from a generation that is reaping the rewards of Mr Lee's hard work and tenacity. For that, I am most grateful. I am glad that my sis and I made the decision to join the queue to say our thank yous and bid our proper goodbyes!


8.3.15

The wedding planning progress (or lack of).





Okay, breathe. I've not made much headway at all with the wedding planning since Jon and I set the date for it in December last year.  We've booked St. Teresa's Church for a wedding service (this booking has been made since last year) and we've not, or rather, I've not done anything much since. Yep, I've not settled on the location for the wedding banquet, or just about everything else, yet. Being in Singapore, where couples book their banquets 1-1.5 years in advance, I know how (almost) suicidal this probably sounds. 

I finally decided to whip my own ass last week and got around to enquiring with various hotels on their availability and banquet packages. Guess what? As kind of expected, most places are already booked. Oppsie daisy.

Here's sharing a few venue options that I've considered for the dinner banquet: 

CHIJMES - gorgeous setting with beautiful high ceiling and stained glass windows. I've got a huge affinity to this place being an ex-IJ girl. The wedding packages are very reasonably priced too. Unfortunately, this place has been crossed off my list after initial enquiries that left their service much to be desired.  

Westin MBFC - this hotel is still one of my favourites after a site visit. Their service and enthusiasm to host my wedding is top class. They also have an all black theme that is beautiful. Unfortunately, our wedding invite list has exploded since our initial calculations and their maximum capacity of 30 tables is too small for us. I would totally recommend this hotel to anyone who's got a guest list of 300 or less. Although the package is on the pricey side, the perks included makes up for it, in my opinion.

Park Royal on Pickering - love the architecture of this hotel and the ballroom is very tastefully done. I was convinced that this was the hotel...and was all ready to make a booking. Until, a miscommunication with their wedding planner left me sorely disappointed. Their only ballroom is not available on my wedding date. 

Brides-to-be, please read the emails that these hotels send you very carefully - including those in fine print that actually states that the date of your wedding is not available. Yes, I completely missed that, quite obviously, rather important point in Park Royal's email to me enthusing their joy in having me consider their hotel for my wedding. To not include that one little, yet very important point that the date is not available in their email body still baffles me.

Tip: This hotel as it turns out, is very packed with bookings...so communication from their planners are slow. You'll need lots of patience and possibly self-planning if you want to have your banquet at this hotel.

Grand Hyatt - the event spaces at this hotel have been revamped recently and they're beautiful. There's even a ballroom that allows a showing of their chefs whipping up a storm for your dinner (ala Hell's Kitchen style with smoke from dry ice and all). I imagine it all to be dramatic and fun for your guests. What's keeping me from booking this hotel: their table setting. Unfortunately, they do not have the black theme setting that I'd like to have, and it'll probably cost too much to bring in my own setting and chairs (their existing setting does not provide seat covers for chairs). 

What's coming up: 

I'm going to check out the Grand Marquee set-up at Hotel Fort Canning and Amara Sanctuary at Sentosa next week. I've got high hopes for the marquee setting at Fort Canning. Please leave me a comment here if you've attended or held a wedding there before. I'm most nervous about bad weather contingency plan and if it gets stuffy and hot in the marquee. Runny make-up and a sweaty bride and groom does not go well at all. Otherwise, I can imagine that it can be really beautiful if the marquee is set-up nicely. Think long table settings with lots of flowers! 

On a lighter and less panic-like note, the very good news is that I've got myself a wedding planner. Clarissa, from Lovorth Weddings will be keeping me in check with things I should be doing and checking off that wedding preparation list. I should be a lot more on track with this wedding business moving forward. Whee! 

I'll be updating the wedding planning progress here every so often. Wish me luck! 

Outfit details:

Shoes: Zara

Hair + Make-Up & Images by: XunnyArt

-xoxo-



  


5.3.15

Hello, happy feet!


My job as Chief Theorist of Wardrobe Theory and Influencer at Gushcloud requires me to be in heels a lot. I wear heels almost everyday at photoshoots, events...and because I like the height elevation  and the illusion of longer legs that heels provide, I wear heels even on off duty days. They complete an outfit!

As a girl, we all know how lovely heels can be, and the downside from wearing them for extended hours - oh, that cramp and numbness that starts from the feet and shoots up your calves! 

The heels that I wear for photoshoots - for vanity and for the sake of getting nice pictures - are usually even more uncomfortable and not quite made for walking. Needless to say, I always kick off my heels (with much relief) and collapse into a chair everytime after when I'm done. 

My best respite and cure for my tortured feet at the end of the day: the OSIM uSqueez Air. 


These massage boots are a life saver. I literally feel all the pain and numbness from being in heels all day melt away whenever it starts working its magic. The most amazing part of all: it not only gives your feet a good rub, its wrap-around feature also works on your calves. Absolutely heavenly! It combines a strong, yet soothing massage with powerful airbags that squeeze your tired leg muscles into total relaxation, and the foot reflexology rollers kneads all the stress, tension and knots away. Bliss.


There are five auto lifestyle programs to select for these massage boots - Reflexology, Energise, High- Heels, Relax and Sleep with two intensity choices of High and Low. I actually like all five different programs and I alternate between them. If I really had to choose, I'll go for High-Heels (for obvious reasons!) and Sleep. On most days, I'll go for both settings at a go; one after the other and my feet will feel like they're walking on a fluff of clouds after. These 2 settings, as the names suggest are best done before bed. I promise you'll sleep like a baby!

On occasions when I'm feeling particularly tired, I'll opt for Reflexology and it's a great perk me up. This program improves body circulation and promotes positive energy flow. I guess that's why I feel a lot more energised after one sitting on this program. I hear that Reflexology also improves one's immune system! 


What I really like about the uSqueez Air is how lightweight and mobile it is. It's super easy to move around, even for someone like me who usually has trouble lifting heavy things. And yes, I use it on my bed too! It's such a bonus to be able to lie back comfortably in bed and have your legs massaged.


Sometimes when I'm working, I set it on low intensity and leave my legs in the boots for an extended period. The massage is so gentle and soothing...I'd like to think it helps me think better! Haha. 



I've always been a huge advocate for massages, especially massages for the feet. Besides the instant gratification you get from how good it feels and the relief from any pain or tension, it generally improves overall health and well-being. I find that foot massages even cure the aches that I suffer from quite often in my shoulder and neck - you know what they say about all parts of your body being connected down to the soles of your feet. 

Already quite a regular at foot massage parlours before the uSqueez Air, I'm ecstatic that I now get to have foot massages in the comfort of my own home. So completely addicted to this massage boots, my legs have never felt more pampered or happy! 

For more information on the OSIM uSqueez Air:

Website: www.osim.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OSIMSG



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- xoxo -