SG50 funpack

The funpack is usually only given to National Day Parade spectators, but because this year is special — Singapore’s 50th birthday — and everything also SG50, every household gets a funpack.

First, it’s good to note that this year’s bag is a canvas tote bag. Feels thick and of good quality. Even has a zip.

Second, there are a couple of designs printed on the tote bag. Some are submitted by common folk. You can view all the designs here.

Third, items in the bag are largely similar though there may be a few variations. (Sometimes I think it’s because some item ran out so it is being replaced by something else.)

So, what did my family get?

I was hoping for one of those with a “uniquely Singapore” icon like the dragon playground or singlish phrase. I got Dick Lee’s design which features the lyrics to “Home”. Not too bad I guess. I like how it’s “handwritten” and not in a typed out font. Feels more authentic and genuine.

Items included:

  • Singapore flag with stand — Seems like they include this in the funpack since like two to three years back? Great for collecting and trolling your colleagues.
  • Bottle of NEWater
  • Sample packs of Super coffee and cereal beverage
  • Sample pack of UIC washing detergent
  • The “ingenious” balloon torchlight — Yup, it’s always sponsored by AKIRA.
  • Haw flakes and lollipop — Supposed to be tidbits/candy from your childhood to bring back that sense of familiarity and nostalgia. My in-laws got the Smarties-wannabe candy in the 8 blister pack.
  • Pack of SNAP cards and country erasers — Another one of those items from your childhood. Of course, the country featured on the eraser is Singapore. My in-laws got the blow up paper ball and chapteh.
  • Singa figurine — In case you don’t know, Singa is the lion mascot from the national courtesy campaign. Our Singa figurine is wearing the police uniform. My in-laws got a Singa figurine wearing the old Army uniform.
  • Some temporary tattoos
  • Card with the Proclamation of Singapore — A piece of history — back to when Singapore first gained independence.
  • Map of National Day activities

Would have been more thrilled to receive more tidbits like KAKA, Tora/Ding Dang chocolate balls, Mamee, Bee Bee or even the 10 cents bubble gum with a temporary tattoo wrapper. Oh well.

Enjoy your funpack and look forward to this 9 August. 🙂

see you again someday, my friend

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is to check my phone. The usual…Whatsapp, LINE, Facebook, etc. Social media has indeed made the world a little smaller; news reaches us a lot faster. Except, I really didn’t want to wake up to this piece of sad news.

I wish it were some cruel joke or rumour that we sometimes see being passed around on Facebook. But no, the source of the news is credible. Days ago, I was still commenting on an article that you posted about Tesco making a blunder. And now, you are gone.

I remember you being an advocate of social media and its uses in the modern world for PR and communications. As much as you were a teacher, you were also keen to learn from your students. I saw the twinkle in your eye when you viewed our presentations for an assignment. I imagined that you were amazed at what some of your students could do.

You were more than a TA and mentor to me; you were a friend. When I graduated and went to say goodbye, you sat me down and talked to me about my future plans for education. Despite your wish that I consider going to grad school, you respected my decision that I was not ready yet, and that I wanted to go home and settle down with work and family. When you became a Professor, you were kind enough to keep reminding me that your promise of writing me a letter of recommendation for grad school still stood. When I decided to stop working, I wrote to you about it and you respected my decision. You have always respected my decisions in life (education) and work. Thank you so much.

If I have one regret, that would be that I’ll never have the chance to show you around my home. I have been hoping that one day you will stop by Singapore and I can let you taste all the good food we have here.

Life is indeed too precious and time waits for no one.

I will miss you, my friend. I will especially miss writing to you every Christmas.

Rest in peace, Owen Kulemeka. Till we meet again someday.

mummy to baby

I haven’t been blogging here much recently, but that’s because I’m busy enjoying my pregnancy and blogging at my other blog — MUMMY TO BABY. XD

This is my first time trying out writing with a theme. It’s pretty much a blog that shares information about pregnancy and parenting. A lot of baby-related stuff there.

This will still be running as it’s my personal space to share my thoughts, so do check back once in a while. Alternatively, you can follow my Twitter account to get updates as every blog post is announced on it.

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.

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!

the big midnight scare

A health-related entry…maybe I should create a category for such entries…hmmm…

So I had this huge scare early this morning that resulted in a trip down to the 24hr clinic. It started last night while I was in the bath. For some strange reason, I had a strong urge to pee. Even after I emptied my bladder, I still felt like peeing. I just shrugged off that strange feeling, thinking it would go away after a while. Nope, it didn’t. Around midnight when I was ready for bed, I went to the loo to take one last pee for the night. That’s when I noticed a slight pinkish tinge in my pee. Blood. Uh oh. And mind you, the strange feeling of wanting to pee was still there. I crawled into bed feeling rather uncomfortable, but decided that maybe I’ll go see a doctor the next morning. Did a quick search on the internet for a possible diagnosis and thought to myself that nothing could be too bad.

And I was wrong again. One hour passed and the feeling hadn’t gone away. In fact, it was getting worse. I just couldn’t fall asleep with that feeling…partly because I didn’t want to end up wetting myself in my sleep. I got up and peed. My pee still had traces of blood. I could feel the panic rising in me and tried to distract myself with an activity so I would stop panicking and making things worse. After pacing up and down a few times, I decided to wake the hubby. I could feel my voice quivering as I struggled to tell the hubby I was feeling unwell. He immediately got up and drove us to a nearby 24hr clinic.

The doctor ordered me to pee in a cup for a dipstick test. That was when I got the biggest shock of my life. My pee was full red this time. I was really about to cry. There was no other pain or discomfort except for the strange urge to pee, the sensation at my uh…pee hole. Doctor confirmed that I was having urinary tract infection (UTI). I’m not about to go into a long discussion on the possible reasons for getting UTI except that the receptionist/nurse just consoled me that it is common for females to get UTI and with medication, the symptoms would ease off in about two to three days.

A first dose of antibiotics after I returned home did help. There was still blood in my pee but at least the nagging urge to pee was easing off. As I lay down to sleep, a wave of nausea came upon me. What now. Could be the effect of the medication or another symptom of UTI. Struggled out of bed for the umpteenth time and found some sour plum to take (wasn’t sour enough but I’m taking whatever chances I have to keep from throwing up). Sat up in bed a little and soon the nausea subsided. It was about 3am by the time I (and the hubby) actually fell asleep.

The lesson learnt from this scare is to drink enough water and not to hold in your pee. If you gotta go, you gotta go. The doctor’s advice was to pee every one to two hours. Yes, I was actually holding in my pee after dinner. We were at the mall for dinner and I thought it didn’t matter since I was going home straight after dinner. Would rather pee in the comfort of my own home loo. What an expensive lesson to learn as the trip to the clinic in the wee hours of the morning cost us $145 (consultation after midnight is $105 which is about the same as a trip to the hospital).

Oh and the hubby deserves a pat on the back (and maybe more) for sacrificing precious hours of sleep and still head for work this morning.