what’s in your heart?

I’m halfway through a rather interesting anime titled ココロコネク (Kokoro Connect). At first I thought it was a romance anime, but it turned out to be not quite that. It’s a little deeper than just about the friendship between five high-schoolers.

These five friends find themselves in unlikely situations all because of a spirit called Heartseed, who is able to control their thoughts and souls. In the first part, Heartseed switches their souls with their bodies. They learn about each other’s real selves through the experience. Just as they figured out one another, Heartseed begins another experiment by making them act upon their real desires/thoughts without any interference from their consciences or ability to reason.

I couldn’t help but begin to think what if it happened in real life. I think I could handle body swapping, but acting upon my real desires/thoughts? I think I’ll just end up hurting a lot of people just like the characters in the anime did. And of course, what do we do when we have such thoughts? We keep them inside (restrained by our ability to reason) or stay away from the people whom we think we’ll end up hurting. Again, just like the characters in the anime did.

Then, one of the characters said this:

If you play it safe the whole time, you’ll lose what’s important to you.

— 後藤先生

The meaning of his advice was to talk to the very people we want to prevent ourselves from hurting them. He believes that only by talking things out, can there be a possibility of reconciliation of friendship. If you stay away from the person, nothing can be done and soon the friendship will fade away.

I think that statement is rather powerful by itself. I can’t help but start thinking about my own relationships with my friends and family.

all about me

Haven’t done this for some time, but I came across this blog prompt on Blog Matter and I just have to do it. 🙂

  1. My name is: Elisia Phua
  2. My birthday is: 10 April
  3. I live in: Singapore
  4. I am currently studying/working as: a full-time housewife
  5. I have been blogging since: 2004
  6. I blog about: random thoughts and topics I feel strongly about, product reviews, and my parenting journey…all three at different blogs
  7. My blog is called [REAL ME] because: that’s how I want people to know me and that’s a song title by one of my favourite Japanese artistes, Ayumi Hamasaki
  8. I love watching: Criminal Minds and anime
  9. I love reading: random magazines and books. Right now I’m reading Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series.
  10. I love doing: random things that I fancy, which includes watching anime, reading, cross-stitching, etc
  11. I love playing: brainless games on my phone like Hay Day and Tsum Tsum
  12. I love listening to: Japanese pop music. AAA is currently top on my list.
  13. I love collecting: books and random lolita-related stuff. I hardly have any more space in my book cupboard but I just can’t stop myself from buying more books. In fact, the number of books unread trumps the read ones. There’s just too many books to be read! I collect lolita-related paraphernalia like magazines (KERA and Gothic & Lolita Bible), catalogues (Angelic Pretty and Baby the Stars Shine Bright), postcards (illustrations by Imai Kira), etc.
  14. Favorite book: I don’t have a favourite book but I do have a few authors that I follow.
  15. Favorite movie: I mainly dig Japanese movies.
  16. Favorite song: Currently AAA’s PARTY IT UP and 風に薫る夏の記憶 (Kaze ni Kaoru Natsu no Kioku)
  17. Favorite TV show: Criminal Minds
  18. Favorite game: Hay Day
  19. My pets: Used to have three goldfish but they died. No pets now.
  20. My tattoos: None
  21. My piercings: Two on right ear lobe, one on left.
  22. If I was a fruit I would be a: strawberry. So sweet and girlish, even though I’m not totally like that.
  23. If I was a season I would be: Spring; new beginnings.
  24. If I was a tree I would be a: sakura tree
  25. If I was a stone/gem/mineral I would be: a pink diamond
  26. If I was a planet I would be: Mercury
  27. If I was a superhero/supervision I would be: someone who could teleport. Less time wasted travelling…haha.
  28. If I was a color I would be: pink
  29. If I was an animal I would be: a cheetah
  30. If I was a word I would be: love
  31. If I was a number I would be: 1
  32. As a child I wanted to be a: teacher
  33. Something I like about myself: I have strong beliefs in certain things, yet I am mild-mannered.
  34. I am proud of the fact that I: finished college with honours and got an Advertising award. Never been a high achiever until I entered college.
  35. My invention for the future would be: nothing. I’m not much of a creative idea person.

finding the time to invest

I have been a full-time housewife for a while now. While most would assume that I’m living it up, I’m actually gaining knowledge on personal finance and investment. Of course, I still find the time to do a lot of leisure things that I wouldn’t be able to do previously.

During the day, I read finance blog articles and one caught my eye — How Do You Find the Time to Learn Investing. Everybody says the same thing whether they are keen or not in learning about investing, they simply have no time to start. The author of the article argues that it’s not about time management but how we harness our energy.

That’s a possibly theory, but I really think it’s about how much you want to get your butt down to things. Trust me, I had zilch knowledge when I started and to make things worse, I was somewhat “forced” to learn about it. My only idea of money then was: the more the better because that means I can buy more stuff that I like. Of course, the husband would not take no for an answer to learning about personal finance and investment. It was either you learn and start making yourself useful or you jolly well go out to work. So one of the goals of investing simply became to earn enough through investments to justify why I’m not working. It may sound rather silly to set such a goal, but I guess that gave me a push and a little reason to start learning.

The ride hasn’t been easy at all. As we all know, we tend to drag our feet on tasks that we simply have no interest in. Till this day, even after I’ve already levelled up a little on my investment knowledge, I still drag my feet sometimes to read those printed investment articles or find the answers to investment-related questions the husband has. The temptation to do a million other leisure things is just too great compared to reading up on asset allocation or how to hedge currency risk when buying foreign ETFs.

But there are times when I find the energy to search for answers to things I don’t know. Like how I borrowed a book by Adam Khoo on stocks from the library and made it a point to actually read all of it. By the way, that really helped me understand a lot more about investing in stocks. Or how about when I had a debate with my friend on bonds and endowment plans? I had no idea what an endowment plan was and I actually researched on it. To be quite honest, my recent meeting with an insurance agent who was trying to sell me an endowment plan spurred me even further.

There’s still a lot I don’t know, but that just means I got to keep learning. There’s really no easy way out if you want to learn about personal finance and investment. Even when you start investing, you simply cannot have the naive thinking that you’ll make big bucks overnight. It takes time, effort and perhaps a few mistakes along the way. But isn’t that the same for learning any other thing?

So, to my friends who have showed a little interest in the subject, please ditch your “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know where to begin” excuses. I am the proof you need to tell you that it’s doable. If you really want to begin but need a little guidance, I am more than happy to point you to a few resources for beginners, but the rest is up to you.

And to those who say they have no money and cannot be bothered with personal finance, good luck to your future. If you don’t want to begin to change things, nobody can help you. But be warned that we live in a world where reality is harsh. If you don’t already know, the rate of inflation is higher than the bank’s rate of interest for your money in your savings account. I’m not saying that you must do what I do, after all, our financial backgrounds are all different. What I’m saying is that you need to begin saving and planning for your future. If you find yourself chronically in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, examine what has gone wrong in your planning and make the necessary adjustments to make sure your savings are actually growing and not dwindling.

three’s not a crowd

Finally. I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time now. Having observed the first trimester wait, I proudly announce that hubby and I are expecting our first child.

This was my little announcement via Instagram and Facebook:

And then there were three…

Unfortunately, some didn’t understand this picture. I think it would have been clearer with shoes, but we haven’t bought any baby clothes. The pair of chick socks was given by my sister. It’s actually meant for a one-year-old but she wanted to give us something cute for the baby, so she got this. We don’t know the gender of baby yet, so everything bought will be gender neutral for now.

This entry has been cross posted at MUMMY TO BABY, a newly set up blog that chronicles my motherhood journey. I’ll be sharing lots of thoughts, goodies and parenting tips there. So do check it out now and then. No worries, this blog will still be around as it is still my personal ground for ranting and discussing thoughts.

it isn’t the same i suppose

Humans are humans. We are biased just like that.

Something mildly amusing happened to me this afternoon while I was opening a checking account at one of the banks. This lovely bank officer girl was serving me and of course like all sales staff do, she tried to sell me something else. She was explaining that they have a savings plan which has a good interest rate and all I have to do is deposit a part of my monthly salary into the account. So I replied that I already do have some savings plan with other banks (was thinking of our investments and stuff). She then assumed that I was talking about a regular savings account so she said that theirs is a little different. She wanted to launch into this full explanation of what her savings plan offers, but I just told her it wouldn’t be necessary anyway since I don’t have a fixed income. To cut the long story short, she found out that I’m a housewife. That’s when things got a little interesting.

There was a slight change in her behaviour. She switched back to filling in the form of the account I wanted to open and said she’ll explain about the other plan later. Next thing I know, she passed me on to her colleague after filling in the form and turned her attention to another customer. Her colleague thereby helped me open the account (e.g. set the pin for online banking, deposit the money, etc.) After the account was set up, I walked out without even being told of the “special” savings plan.

Haha. She thinks I’m stupid. I perfectly know why she passed me on to her colleague just like that. She thinks I’m just a housewife with no income (aka no money to invest in them), therefore I’m not worth her time. She could talk about all her wonderful products, but if I haven’t got the means to get them then there’s no point talking further anyway. Well, that’s not quite right, but she’s right about her wasting her time telling me stuff because I’m not someone to be persuaded easily. I would do my own homework first before deciding on what product to get.

What amuses me is her little assumption that I’m too poor to invest anything with them. *shrugs* Ah well, there’s no loss on my part anyway. I didn’t have to explain or reveal anything more. I didn’t have to waste more time listening to her explanation of something I wouldn’t even get. A teeny weeny part of me was also rejoicing over the fact that I didn’t have to listen to her slightly broken English any more. It was just chop chop open the account and then goodbye.

But it isn’t the same I suppose — one who has a fixed income and a housewife. Haha.

tired of the world

Just watching the drama on Amos Yee unfold on Facebook. Some of us would recognise him as the boy who acted in Jack Neo’s movie. If you don’t know what happened, Amos got arrested for posting a hate video where he rejoiced over Lee Kuan Yew’s death and made some remarks about the Christian faith. And this is not the first time he has gotten into trouble. How did a cute boy grow up to be so spiteful and hateful?

There are now other articles on him that portray what he used to be like when he was in Secondary school. You can read them here and here.

On the surface, he might seem like an arrogant, attention-seeking little twit, but I think this boy truly needs help before he destroys himself. From the various articles on him, he seems to be an intelligent and articulate person. One who does not silently swallow injustice, but speaks up what he thinks is not done right. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I think he does not understand that most people cannot accept such boldness and that people can disagree with his view. To counter his view, they end up telling him off that he has no right to do so. In which, he ends up feeling sore about the situation. Over time, he grows up being known as the misfit and people shun him. This only leads to him feeling more hate for everyone and everything around him.

It is tiring to be unjustly told off all the time. You’re trying to find a place for yourself in this world, but it seems everyone is just against you and unwilling to hear you out. In the end, the hatred in you just grows and consumes you.

What I think he needs is the patience and concern from people to hear him out. Let him figure out his own emotions. Then guide him how to react appropriately when people do not want to consider his view. Instead of giving up when people react like “I am your senior, so you should just listen to me”, he should give himself a chance to explain his thoughts and give other people a chance to see things from his point of view.

thank you, sir

Yesterday, Singaporeans woke up to the grim news that our founding father had passed on. I knew that it was just a matter of time, but I still felt a little tinge of sadness in my heart.

We may disagree with some words that he said, even to the point of resentment, but we cannot deny that without Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore might be different today. He transformed Singapore from nothing to something.

Thank you, Sir.

You have done everything you can for Singapore. Take a good rest now and be reunited with your wife in heaven. Let God take care of you.

PS: To the people who post nasty messages during this time: If you have nothing better to say, then don’t open your mouth. Put aside your hate for a moment and have a little compassion.

spring time at starbucks

Every time March comes around, I get pretty excited because it’s time to check out the spring time merchandise at Starbucks! Specifically, the Sakura series. It started out in Japan, but slowly other Asian countries (including Singapore) caught on.

So what’s this year’s picks?

Starbucks Japan

Bolder colours like hot pink and yellow seem to be adopted for this year’s range in Japan. Nothing really caught my eye except for that pop bottle in the middle of the picture. Cute shape but not much use for me.

I was more excited over the drinks and desserts…

Look at the pinkness! I am so going to try these when I’m in Japan in April! <3

 

Starbucks Korea

There’s a different range of merchandise in Korea. There’s the usual baby pink and white toned merchandise, as well as some purple toned merchandise. Kinda like that baby pink tumbler in the picture, but again, have no use for more hot water tumblers.

The drinks look interesting. I like the pink chocolate flakes on the top as they remind me of sakura petals. A bit meh about the white chocolate drink though. So far, all the white chocolate drinks I’ve drunk at Starbucks are too sweet for my liking. Perhaps the Cherry Blossom Latte might be a better choice…though I’m awfully picky when it comes to sakura drinks. They must have a strong sakura taste and not just faint hints of it.

The dessert selection didn’t look interesting to me though. Unlike Japan’s Sakura Chiffon Cake, the Cherry Mascapone Fresh Cream Cake looks really rich and the kind you’ll get sick off halfway.

 

Starbucks Singapore

The range in Singapore is quite similar to Korea’s. Nothing really caught my eye. Was hoping that they’ll have a large straw tumbler so I can replace my cracked one from last year’s Sakura series, but they don’t have one this year. It’s just the regular small straw tumbler. Meh.

There are no special sakura drinks or desserts in Singapore. Another meh.

 

Starbucks Taiwan

There is a small collection of sakura-themed merchandise in Taiwan, but it’s not strongly advertised. Instead, they advertised their sheep-themed merchandise for Chinese New Year.

The red is really striking and some of the mugs and tumblers are pretty cute.

 

My verdict? This year’s Starbucks Sakura merchandise is not as interesting as last year’s. Nothing really stood out much and made me really want to get it. Guess I’ll look forward to next year’s range. Hope there’s something good then.

meh the huat be with you

Happy Birthday everyone! Today is the seventh day of Chinese New Year, which is also known as 人日 or all man’s birthday.

Set meal from Soup Restaurant

Haven’t been finding the time to settle down to write an entry for Chinese New Year. This year has been a bit quiet as my in-laws have chosen not to go visiting. We did however have a feast for our reunion dinner.

Set meal from Soup Restaurant

Made a couple of boo boos on the first day. Went over to my parents’ place for lunch. Was in a hurry to get out of the house that I completely forgot mandarin oranges and ang pows. Maybe because I’ve been so used to going visiting with my parents that I didn’t think we’ll need oranges. (My mum usually buys boxes of oranges.) Mother-in-law shot us the disapproving look. (Yes, my in-laws were there at the lunch too.) Then came the ang pow issue. This year, we definitely cannot run away from giving out ang pows as it is our second year of marriage. The first year, we could give the “excuse” that we hadn’t gone through the traditional ceremony. So, my cousins were there at the lunch and we had to give them ang pows. Uh oh. No ang pows on hand. Had to get some empty ones and new notes from my mum. Again, we got the disapproving look from mother-in-law. Yikes.

I was so ready to take some “ootd” shots this year, but then I realised we weren’t doing much visiting so there’s less chance to dress up. Moreover, I caught some bug that gave me a slight fever, bloated tummy and stomach ache. Totally ruined my plan of wearing my new cheongsam. Didn’t want my tummy to be sticking out, so I opted for an older mandarin collar dress on the second day.

Ah well.

Since it’s the year of the sheep, meh the huat be with you!