Into The Year of The Rat

28 Jan 2020 – Wuhan Virus

Sun: after a hot day of long bus&MRT-rides@stations seldom at, not a complain, just an observation and always exciting to explore new areas. Bus48 changing to 75 heading to Holland Road area where my father used to lived many moons ago. Thought I could remember, but that was not the case. Got lost walking in the hot sun for about 30mins and only after asking a few ppl did I finally find the way to cousin Annie/CheongWah.

Good to catch up with her&Neo. She is always so creative with her crafts. AiLing&Alvin are out of town.

Appreciations to Annie for her delicious lunch and for accompanying me to 13thAuntie (who still recognizes me!) app 5mins walk from her. 13thUncle, cousin Ching&HH were out. The house has not change but most of the bonsai are no longer – put me on the correct street! can still find the house without any problems!!

Another hot walk, thank goodness for an umbrella+shaded-walkway to EW-Line/DoverMRT changing@JurongE/NS-Line to KranjiMRT where there must have been some race going on as cheers were heard while waiting for niece.

Thrilled to have now caught up with all of 2ndBro’s branch, first at the recent wedding&today.  Like AuntieNgor’s KCH-Laksa, to start the year with 2ndSis-in-law’s (who lives with JenLeng&family) yummy curry (one of my favourites) is another must. Pix credits to JenLeng for both her 1st&2ndCNY-Day pix. All her family pix will be a great help when I start documenting the OG&PG in the family tree. Have now finally hand-delivered a HC of the invite to the older generation who does not go online and still know&remember me!

After all the rich CNY foods, nice change with Japanese foods@IchibanSushi-Japanese restaurant/WestMall tkx to JenMun&SiewKeng – since in the area, good to also catch up with them to see where they live, BukitBartok.

With pleasant life-entertainment on the way to the MRT EW-LineJurongE-Eunos – am blessed with such a lovely extended family, who could ask for anything more? Been a long time ago since I was on the go for more than 12hrs, so being 70 is just a number and the CNY celebrations go on until 8Feb.

Mon-Tue: condolences to NBA player Kobe Bryant’s family – prayers&thoughts are out to them for the lost of a husband&daughter and a father&sister. Time to recharge&relax with some quiet days before the preparations for my immediate family from the US&Norway visit to SIN next month, looking much forward. Trying to enjoy my GreenT, melon seeds etc with books, movies&music to my taste. A good week to all – stay healthy and away from crowds if possible!

This is happening too close, was@PPMon 20Jan. Hoping&praying for the best, but somehow this story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin keeps popping up in the mind and I do not know what to make of it nor how to read it?

Lovely heavy downpours in the afternoon cooling down the temps.

Raising awareness versus raising alarm; the public can’t be better informed if the information isn’t better ― TK Naliaka

Welcoming The Year of the Rat 2020

25 Jan 2020 – Kong-Hei-Fatt-Choy 恭喜發財

Tue: wow! I have been blogging for 12yrs today – tkx again Lucy for introducing me to wordpress. Blogging is a good help for me to remember.

Tue&Wed: tkx you to Seb&Adrain for helping to finish the Christmas foods and appreciations to Seb for fixing my CNY light. What a treat, tkx to Gel for her absolutely yummy CNY home-made goodies, have now tasted one bite of everything – ButteryCrust PineappleBalls, ChocolateChipsCashew Cookies, BaechuKimchi and AcharChilli. Let the CNY celebrations begin.

Wed: Happy 18th Birthday to #1, first&eldest grandchild who will be graduating high-school in Jun. How is it possible that I will be having a grandchild in University this fall when I can still vividly remember my own Udays???

Thu: as we take farewell to the Year of the Pig, plx be vigilant and take extra precautions in the midst of this Wuhan virus. Hopes&prayers that this will not turn pandemic.

Movie LittleWomen draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In the story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms — is both timeless and timely. Vaguely remember reading the book in my early teens.

Dinner@Les&Ivy yummy big fish head.

Fri: TGIF – a good weekend to all on this Fri&the eve of the CNY. A Healthy&Happy CNY-celebrations ahead to those celebrating. The surroundings here are ready to welcome the new year, but not so sure if China, especially Wuhan is.

Appreciations for another reunion dinner with 4thBro’s branch – sorry to miss Vincent tonight, but he is on some plane and will be back in time to celebrate the 1st CNY day tomorrow.

Sat: Kong-Hei-Fatt-Choy 恭喜發財🧧🧧🧧as I have been taught to wish for the Chinese New Year ever since I can remember. May the Year of the Rat bring us Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity. Appreciations to Les&Ivy for yummy lunch and good wines.

The only decent ppl shot is that of god-sister Pat with SengGee&LiChan. Missing David, no family pix as I was too busy catching up with Pat who is looking amazing to be 89.

The last visit for this 1stCNY day is with auntie Ngor@cousin Karen’s. A taste of her delicious home-made KCH laksa is a must to start the year, and she&Peter will be heading to the empty nest syndrome next month when Cala heads to Australia for further studies. Happy Australia Day to Peter.

I want to be like a caterpillar. Eat a lot, sleep for a while, and then wake up beautiful…

A Beautiful Wedding

20 Jan 2020 – GG2LAM KwokKiong Branch

Sat: congratulations to the marriage of grandnephew SuiChang (grandson of 2nd bro) and welcome JiaLing to the family. Missing JenLeng’s 2children in the pix. Have not completed the names to the OrangeGenerationOG and PurpleGenerationPG for the family-tree yet. Above pix credits to professional photographers.

He is the 1st of the PurpleGeneration/PG to be married. Above 1st&last pix credits to JenLeng.

Mon2Nov2020: edited with below 2pix, tkx to SiewKeng.

FrontRow/L-R: Michael, Lawrence, Leslie, 2ndSisInLaw/GS TAY(grandmother of the groom), Myself, Jo, Ivy, Joyce

BackRow/L-R: Lee, Kiera, Isebella, SiewKeng(mother of the groom), Bride/JiaLing&Groom/Sui Chang, Adeline, Patricia, Jenleng, Jen Mun (father of the groom), Pat Lynn.

Appreciations to his parents JenMun&SiewKing for getting the family together for this joyous occasion and for raising such a lovely son. Now they can relax and look forward to the next generation – The BrownGeneration/BRG

Thank you for a delicious lunch+gifts@ParkRoyal/Beach Rd. Their wedding day will come and go, but may their love forever grow.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow ― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Used to have a few copies of the above book, but, today could not find any when I wanted it. Book cover downloaded. Dinner@Les&Ivy to have some time with Lawrence who will be flying back to KCH tomorrow. Has been a very busy week.

Sun: needed a day to chill before getting ready for the CNY. A good day to watch Season6/13Episodes of Frankie&Grace

Mon: a good week to all – it is going to be another busy week. Errands@PP and an excellent movie – a woman seeking a quiet life in post-World War II British Malaya finds love and a common interest in gardening with a mysterious Japanese man. It is only natural for an author, whose book is being brought to life on the big screen, to feel nervous about the tweaks and changes that must come with any cinematic adaptation.

Will the film stay true to the book’s events? Will it honour its spirit?  More so when the book in question is Malaysia’s first novel to be shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize – The Garden Of Evening Mists. Have not read the book but would highly recommend the movie.

1st reunion&LoHei pot-luck dinner@Pat&David. My contribution – the fruit-tray.

Also a combination for Michael’s 80Bday. Safe trip to Pat&family who will be heading for Malaysia over the CNY. Walked app 2k/30mins back to my 4-walls, been a while since I have walked that late in the evening, but the body really needed that walk after all the over-eating over the week! Pleasant evening for a walk.

What 70 Feels Like

17 Jan 2020 – Starting 70s In A New Decade

Wed: am not sure how I felt when I woke to my 70bday? Somehow 70 seems ancient, but yet I do not feel ancient yet! Is this the case of the mind telling the body otherwise?? Am still going thru’ grieving over Ellen’s passing and was just so emotional&overwhelmed when I received a bouquet with a message from the HALDs in Tromsø –  Mor would have loved to say congratulations to you too – we were talking to her about your upcoming big day and the flowers were one of her last requests – thoughtful even up to her ending days.

Would not have pull thru’ today without tears if not for CNYgoodies from@Fullerton and dinner@UOB

A short walk thru’ these excising ppl by the river

Dinner@SiChuanDouHua Restaurant on the 60Level of UOB, good food with fantastic view

Appreciations and thank you for wonderful company, delicious foods&drinks+flower to start the celebrations into my 70s. Let the celebrations begin…

Thu: and the celebrations continue@Camper’s, tkx to Calvin&Helen for more yummy foods – appreciations for the good company of Sam, Chris, Yani, PengHann&family, Sophia, Pat, Andy, Dennis, SengHock, Yoshie, nephew Ray&Eve and Henry (who was MIA for a while and I was having concerns). Pix credits to Helen.

Fri: TGIF and a day to wander into Chinatown to avoid being there the last week next week before the CNY. Here to prosperity for the preparations for Year of the Rat from these deities (credits to Yoshie). Thank you to Henry for the WuLou=the giver of life also goes by the name of a Calabash or Gourd in English.

Power deities, for all their strength, are very much like humans, They are subjects to periods of despair and are not free from the crippling consequences of emotions, For over two decades Tibetans were forbidden from holding any religious ceremonies or prayers. No prayer flags, incense or ceremonies were offered to the deities and demi-gods of the region. This neglect broke their hearts and they became bedraggled and weak ― Tsering W Dhompa

In Chinatown at dusk, early enough for a fast bite without too much of a line and a quick walk thru the vendors,

before the Rat Race, and then it was time to race out for one who is NO fan of such races! As it is, have seen most of the vendors over the years.

Ellen Annemor Hald (1924-2020)

 14 Jan 2020 – A Very Sad Weekend

Sat: condolences to the HALD Family for the passing of their mother, grandmother&great-grandmother, age 94 – L&M’s paternal grandmother. Have known Ellen Annemor Hald (1924-2020) since 1968 and no matter how sad I am now, I know it must be even more difficult for her family, especially for L&M who adore their grandmother – prayers&thoughts are with them for the loss of this gracious lady whom I highly admire&respect.

1968: she was 43 and given birth to Cathrine (finally a daughter after 4boys!) that same year when we first met. Was just about to turn 19, 1st Christmas with snow and 1st time in Tromsø will always be remembered fondly. Some may say that there are no perfect marriages, but to me, Ellen&JohnIII are as close to a perfect couple as possible, JohnIII passed away in 2008.

L&M are totally blessed with such grandparents and I with them as parents-in-laws and even remain friends when they became my ex-in-laws. Last met with Ellen in Sep2019 when I made a point to stay longer than usual in Tromsø then, hoping that it will not be the last time, but alas it was the last time.

15Jan: edited with obituary, tkx to May&Unni.

Today is a real downer and it is seldom that I admit to such days. To add to the somber mood, there is a wake going on downstairs in the communal hall.

SIN former chief justice YONG PungHow (pix downloaded) passed on aged 93. He was vice-chairman of OCBC in 1978 and knew father. Being pragmatic, he announced the abolition of the traditional wigs worn by judges and lawyers, and the use of archaic terms of address for judges of the Supreme Court such as My Lord or Your Lordship.

Sultan Qaboos of Oman, Arab world’s longest-serving ruler, died aged 79. Using its oil wealth, he drew Oman into the modern world and brought its people prosperity and was indeed a good wise man. Pix downloaded.

Irish friend, Mick celebrated his 70Bday today in hospital and prayers&thoughts are out to him for a speedy recovery.

Sun: a quiet weekend to mourn over the passing of an amazing lady, but also to reflect on how she brought joy to her family&friends, and to be thankful that such a person crossed this life journey – may she now RIP. Real ladies&gentlemen are far&few in between and Ellen&JohnIII are among the very few.

Appreciations for a supply of the Lemon Flavour PerrierWater& Bundaberg-GingerBeer, some of my favourite beverages.

A virtuous woman is not moved by big names and flamboyance, but only men of profound wisdom and integrity move her ― Michael Bassey Johnson

Mon: delivered CDs to Ivy@Les’s clinic and chicken rice lunch@ChinChin, tkx to Clem. These beautiful lights caught my eyes and decided to pop into this Louis Poulson shop to admire them – the most precious light is the one that visits you in your darkest hour and if you refuse that light, darkness takes over, no matter how beautiful a light may be. Sadly Ari Behn was unable to refuse the darkness on Christmas Day 2019.

May the glorious light brighten your path. May you find renewed energy, courage and hope to pursue new adventures

After a downer weekend, today is an appropriate time to watch this documentary@the library before starting to wander into Chinatown to soak in the ambiance before the CNY rush.

Tue: what a delicious home-made Italian lunch to end the last day of my 60s, thank you – Buon Appetito.

Now & Ever

10 Jan 2020 – More Busy Schedules Ahead

Tue: need a day to switch off before the next rush. Films are a great way to relieve stress, to escape the pressures of day to day life, allowing the viewer to drift into new plots and storylines. They sometimes give us the excuse to cry or laugh out loud, and to admire a few sexy actors and actresses along the way. And for me, this is so true.

First time watching a movie from Myanmar, Now & Ever ထာဝရနှောင်ကြိုး – a drama based on a marriage and relationship. Thiha (Zenn Kyi) is married to Wuthmone (Paing Phyoe Thu), who because of her traumatic past is suffering from psychosis. As a passionate lover, Thiha takes care of Wuthmone with much kindness. But in the later years of their marriage Wuthmone starts to suspect Thiha might be cheating on her and witnesses that he actually is. She blames only herself and rumination worsens her condition. But could what she saw have an alternative truth? Or, has Thiha fallen out of love? Quite a tear-jerker towards the end and enjoyed this flick.

Chose to watch this@GV in Funan, next to Peninsula Plaza where the Myanmarese gather. And sure enough, most of the audience were Myanmarese to get me into the Myanmar ambiance.

Had dinner with Clem@RafflesCity where the choices&varieties of foods are so extensive that we ended@FoodPlace, and my choice was a simple steamed-pork+a side dish of veggie. Dessert@CoffeeBean, too long a wait@PS Cafe.

JaniceWong – SIN pastry chef launched her eponymous sweet concept brand in 2014. Today there is even chocolate crayons (personally, not a good idea!). Everything here is quite a feast for the eyes too but not within my budget and not a fan of chocolate will all these chocolates with fancy fillings.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get – Forrest Gump

Wed: anyone flying from SIN-EU-SIN, or anywhere in these troubled areas, plx make sure that the airlines you’re on are avoiding the air-spaces in these area. Prays&thoughts are always for PEACE

3hrs after posting the above link in FB, news of the link below appeared!

Prayers&condolences to all victims&their families on this flight.  Seems like an error or mistake by human error unintentionally, but of course no one dares to take responsibilities by not wanting to share the black-box – ouch!!! The Iranian authorities dismissed the accidental shooting down as rumor and rubbish. So can we now only conclude that they targeted and shot the plane down on purpose???? Catch 22 and such sad news.

Edited 11Jan:

Responsibilities have been admitted, but does it help the victims who are no longer? Is it going to stop the situation from getting worse?? 

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind…

Thu: getting my heritage stuff ready for an interview. Appreciations to KengWe&Jeremy (NTU heritage&historian research group)+Victor – got thru’ some of father’s old papers to discover that his bday is not 15Jun 1911? as I have always thought (or maybe it is??), it is 15Jul 1913??? according to this, but even that is not correct.

Fri: TGIF and time to work out a guest list for a lunch-buffet. Was pleasantly surprised last night with news that #2 will also be visiting next month. Looking much forward to that, but for now, there are still preparations for the CNY first! Tkx for dinner@Les&Ivy and a productive evening of going thru’ the guest list.

Epiphany 2020

6 Jan 2020 – My Epiphany

Thu: grocery shopping around ParkwayP. Prayers for rains to Australia&sunshine to Indonesia. Here in SIN, there are no complains of this freshly painted hood with fabulous flora trees view outside the bedroom&kitchen (the back) windows Tkx to Bian for providing the kind of this flowering tree –  a species of Pulai (Alstonia).

It is quite amazing how fast those tress have grown. It was in 2006 when this area was upgraded with a 3-level car-park&a roof-garden was completed. On-going repairs, repaint, etc are being carried out at present since last year. The new colour for the buildings was voted on by the majority in my absence in Sep2019. Absolutely thrilled with the choice as it matches with most of my outfits, thus an excellent camouflage for me in my surroundings – hahaha.

The front of where my 4-walls faces the road overlooking a T-junction road with this communal space. Have booked this location for a lunch buffet next month, will be the first time and a new experience to use this space.

Fri: TGIF to this first 2020Fri and a good weekend to all. More grocery shopping around UbiAve 2. The young man@YanChuan Roasters has been taking care of my roast goods for the past couple of years. It is good to shop at a place when&where they know what&how I want things done, even when it took 2changes on 3buses to get there (S$0.92c) – they also deliver (S$15). Looks like the price-list for CNY orders are out.

Sat&Sun: menu (the last time I will ever want to make such a menu! – my epiphany!!) for today&tomorrow’s lunch to thank some of my SIN co-workers who have help me tremendously during the transition when I first returned to work here. Today we are friends and I no longer work a 9-5 job. How can it have been over a decade ago since these young ppl lasted visited? Appreciations for the visit – this time with an addition in the family, but missing Jeremy who has to fulfill his duties for the country. Tkx to Aileen(H&H)&family for yummy strawberries&cookies, to Calvin&Sam+Chris(CC) for wines and to Gel(NetballSIN) for her company.

Seafood Bisque w bread-sticks
Gravlaks w honey-dill mustard sauce
Smoked salmon w cream-cheese
Prawns w avocado
Ham w pineapples
Roast chicken w cranberries
Spicy Italian sausages
Roast Belly Pork (besides being a Chinese dish, this is also Norwegian)
Potato Salad
Brussels Sprouts w garlic+cheese
Brown sauce
Assorted Cheese
Red Velvet/USA
Irish Coffee/Ireland
12days after Christmas is Epiphany – also known as Women’s Christmas in Ireland ( especially in the counties of Cork and Kerry ). A day off from household chores and a night out for the women after all the hard work over Christmas.
Mon: but today is when the clearing of all the foods after the weekend and getting the decorations put away! Still no complains considering the natural disasters and the political volatile&unpredictably situations in the world today!

First Day of 2020

1 Jan 2020 – Happy New Year

Fri: TGIF for the last 2019 Fri and this is what it looks like in both my mind and my working space! Need to cool&calm the mind with some T-breaks in a less messy section of the 4-walls.

Sat: going thru’ to-do list(s) before 2019 is over and this lamp popped into the FB Memories. Have been eyeing it when I first set eyes on it some years ago@NationalDesignCentre

Finally bought it last year, not@NationalDesignCentre but online where it was more affordable for my pockets! Hoping that this will keep shinning with many more bright creative ideas for the future as like any closed-book or mind, it will not shine when it is not open! Was hoping to attend the concert@Amerian Church tonight, but forgot to get a ticket until it was too late – tkx to AudreyM for stopping by.

Sun: this is the location where most of SIN helpers from the Philippines frequent on Sundays. Prayers&thoughts to the victims&their families. Please take care and be safe. This is just too close to Les’s old clinic@MtE, he has since moved to FarrerPk nearly a year ago now. Pix downloaded from ST.

Mon: as the curtains draw to a close for 2019, enjoy whatever sweet resolutions of your choice. 2020 will be a start to a new year&a new decade to make better&sweeter choices, hopefully.

Rosalind asked: where is this place with all the sweet temptations?! no way the curtain is closing on this one….hope they realise that white sugar is unhealthy and cut down on white sugar and sweetener and substitude this with dark brown sugar. Some times when it is less sweet, it taste just as nice if not nicer!!

My answer: actually 2places – the drinks from Al-Azhar/Geylan and the cakes of some pastry place in one of the malls@PayaLebar. Just took the pix for the variety&colours and not sure about the taste, but everything to moderation. Enjoying my walks back in SIN to soak in the food cultures by taking pix so that I can remember.

Tue: Giant@Tampines via the free shuttle from Bedok for the last 2019-Tue senior grocery shopping (3%discount). The crowds were not as bad as expected, perhaps it was bc I was there in the morning&out of there by 1300hrs. Arr back to find that workmen were painting the floor on the landing and do I look forward to seeing the end of this. Thank goodness for one of the workers who helped me get back to my 4-walls or the grocery, especially the prawns would have gone off if I had to wait for an hour!

First time seeing these raw red prawns with huge heads from Argentina. They are usually S$29.90perkilo, today 50% off, bought 10 for S$11.24 to try. Strangely, the colour before cooking was more vibrant. The shells are like other prawn shells are perfect&tasty to make broth with. Edited: verdict – not so crunchy as I have hoped!

Appreciations to Pat for this yummy BBQ@OwlsBrew on the eve of 2020 and Happy Bday to Ann. At this stage in life, can hardly keep my eyes open&sleep is more important to me than to ring in the new year, so goodnight for now and tomorrow will be another year.

Wed: downloaded 2pix and combine it to one to make this New Year’s greetings&message as meaningful as it can be to start off 2020 and a new decade. A Blessed 2020 ahead and Peace to All – Happy New Year, Bliain nua shona, Godt nytt år, Selamat tahun Baru, 新年快乐 (CNY is on 25Jan).

Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love ― Richelle E. Goodrich

2 – Happy Bday Darryl

5 – Happy Bdays Gerald  & Leonard

6 – Happy Bday Cindy

9 – Happy Bdays Judy & Lee

10 – Happy Bday KeeYang

11 – Happy Bday Mick

15 – Happy Bdays Angie  & me!

18 – Happy Bday Isabelle (SunSun)

19 – Happy Bday Kari

21 – Happy Bday Michael

22 – Happy Bday Katy

24 – Happy Bdays 15thUncle  and Ole K