March 10, 2016

In memory of my maternal grandfather

It has been a very long time since I have written on this blog, but I guess life caught up. Many things have happened, and today is quite a special day, so I decided to write a post.

On 6th January, when I was working in school in the morning, I saw a whatsapp message on the family chat that my maternal grandfather passed away. According to the doctor, his breathing slowed down gradually and he passed on peacefully. The hospital put pneumonia as the cause of death. He was in the hospital for about three weeks. During that period, it was very painful to look at him suffer, trying very hard to take every breath, dried up blood in his mouth because they extracted the blood in his lungs/he was coughing blood and swollen limbs. It was not the first time that he was admitted into the hospital, but during the previous times, he managed to pull through after his stay in the hospital. On this third time, he didn't. 

My maternal grandfather has been staying in an old folk's home for the last ten years. He went in March 2006, when he was diagnosed with dementia, and could no longer control his bowels. Before he went into the old folk's home, a maid was hired to look after him. But he is not an easy man to take care of. My grandfather was a traditional man. He smoked, he cussed and he drank stout. He preferred boys over girls. As the oldest grandchild, he has never showed me any signs of concern. I was mostly ignored. I guess it was good that all my other cousins were male. It is very painful to think about why he didn't like me at all, and why he has never showed me any sign of affection. I used to get quite upset when I see im showing my brother signs of affection. In particular, he liked to rub the earlobes of my brother and my other cousins. I often wonder what he has gone through in life to result in such prejudice over females. I also wondered how did he managed to get a wife if he didn't like females. I guess all these doesn't matter anymore. He had a tough life, losing his wife to cancer, having to support four young children by himself. He lived as a widow for about 30 years. That's a long time for someone to be alone. Maybe that made him bitter. 

Maybe it was because of this, I had very mixed feelings about my grandfather's passing. I am glad that his suffering has ended and he is in a better place now. He had not been able to eat anything, and he was put on enteral feeding. He could no longer enjoy his food, and he was on the bed the entire day. His leg has lost its muscles and it was stiff. He was having having an infection on his toe for the longest time. In fact, that was the the reason he was admitted into the hospital for the previous two times. He was itchy all the time and scratched himself till he bled. Every time I went to the home, I felt a pang of sadness. At the same time, it was very difficult for me to feel affection for a man who has always ignored me. I hate that I don't feel a sense of kinship with a family member. 

What was interesting to me, was the wake. I previously took a module on Religion and Society and I am taking another module on Chinese Religions this semester. It was very interesting to me the kind of rituals that happened in the wake, be it religious or not. My grandfather had a Taoist wake, and everything was very systematic. You just had to choose what religion you would like the wake to follow, then everything is settled for you. The main thing was the payment. In this case, I felt that there is a certain alienation in the process. We were purchasing the products for the wake like a normal commodity, and it was a strange feeling. I had always thought that it would be a very emotional process, but the most emotional period for me was when the vehicle bringing the coffin to the nunnery to be cremated played a sad Buddhist song. I believe that at this period of time, people would be thinking of all the things that has happened between you and the person who has passed on. Although I felt very very sad, I didn't have much memories. This made me even sadder. :( I was thinking about the meaning of such rituals. In a way, my grandfather's passing has brought the maternal side of my family closer, especially when you are stuck with each other in the funeral parlor for that few days for the wake. It is interesting how a family members leaving and result in a closer bond in the other family members. That made me feel a sense of awe, and I hope that the family will develop stronger feelings of kinship through this. 

My grandfather and I were never close, but today, I would like to dedicate this post to him. I hope you are in a better place, gong gong, and thank you for bringing the family closer. 

October 16, 2015

Losing memories and Nordic Culture Coastline

After watching Inside Out,which I cried while watching, I realised that memories are really precious. We lose some of our memories all the time. And I bet I probably lost so many of my memories already. Especially for people like me who are not big fans of the camera, I realised that sometimes I lose the memories and probably have no way of remembering it. So I came back to this good old blog and decided to pen down things I remember so that if I ever lose some of the most interesting memories, I will remember them here. Although I think it would not have been as effective as if I wrote them down when the memories were fresh, but better than nothing.

This especially, applies to the time when I was away on exchange. More than a year has passed and I realise that I have forgotten things. Some things that used to be so crystal clear has started to become blurred. I think I will be really sad if I no longer remember my time there. :(

So, I will talk about my favourite and worst memories not in any particular order. 

#1 Nordic Culture Coastline 

This trip happened during the end-Spring. We went there in May and it was one of the most memorable for me because I had a huge meal of salmon. The entire meal was made literally of salmon and it was one of the most amazing trips ever because I know that it is truly unique and not many people would be able to experience it as it was done with the school, without any tour guides. The teachers were the ones that brought us around, and they were locals. We could ask them anything under the sun and it was amazing. 

For this trip, the class was split into two groups and I decided to go with Si Rui because I had my Swedish oral during the other period. The people who went with us were the french guys, Li Yu from Taiwan, Zhang Xie from China, and some others. Si Rui and I were in a group for the group presentation with Matej as our group leader, Zhuang Xie, Li Yu and ourselves. Somehow, the Asians always end up sticking together. We stayed in this house built a century ago and we took a 4 bed room with Zhuang Xie and Li Yu.

Here's the picture of the farmhouse on a sunny day in May


Here's the image of the house next to the farmhouse. It used to be a school.


When I first saw the house, I was very excited to be in it because it was a farmhouse in the countryside and it was built a very very long time a ago. According to the teacher, it was built to  be a school house for the kids in the countryside and they had to travel very long distances to come to school. Which was pretty cool. The other building also had an old-school stove that used coals. That was very interesting too!

A modern stove added next to an ancient one. 


On strange thing which baffled me was the design on the house. The only toilet in the 3 storey house was attached to the house, but in order to go into the toilet, you have to walk around the house and the entrance to the toilet is outside the house. That means that if you have to pee at night, you have to walk out in the dark cold night and walk to the toilet. And if there is someone there, you have to wait outside in the cold. I know, because being someone with a small bladder, I had to wait outside in the cold. Hahahhaa. It was quite serene to do so actually, and I did not mind that much. Because there are not many lights around the house, you could see a sky full of stars while waiting for your turn to pee. The view was very spectacular. In the day, if you walked behind the house, there is a backyard overrun with plants. There, there were edible plants which I was more than happy to forage. I was not the only one. I spied the teacher picking some of those rhubarbs. >:) I was very happy with some chives we picked around the house, Si Rui helped me in my endeavour. I was fun trying to spot the chives.

Look at my loot! 

Other than the fun times in the house, we also had day trips outside which I really enjoyed too. Hmmm. I enjoyed everything. One of the first things we did on the trip was to go to the Overum museum. Basically, it was very old adorable men telling us about the history of the area. The area is an aging one with not many young people left, as we can tell from the demographics of the guides. The told us about the area and how it used to be an economically important one because they produced ploughs for farming. This is especially important in that era because those were the farming times. They also had relatively advanced technology for that age. It was very interesting to learn from these very passionate old men. Their Swedish accents were a little strong, but I would like to think I have mastered Swedish accented English comprehension by then.

The museum and some of the guides in blue

The guide talking about how iron was transported, I think. 

The trip to the museum was a relatively short one. We also went to another museum of sorts, where we saw the equipment people in the past used to kill pigs. That was a very crampy museum, but it was interesting to see a butter churner in real life. After all these years of reading historical fiction, I finally have a churner in my head to complete the scene! Whee! We also went to someone's house (in the past, now a museum) to  look around.

Tools of the trade (for the butcher)

Guess what is this! This is like a thing in which you put coins in. 

TATTING!!! So pretty, I wanna try! :')

Then, we went fishing. FISHING. The thought of fishing my own food makes my heart pump so hard of excitement. But alas. All I did for the fishing was to sit in my boat and see the other group with the experienced fisherman put the net to the sea. I did nothing but wait in the boat. The boat ride was very enjoyable though. The temperature was cool, about 26 degrees and the sun was shining. I happily forgot to bring sunblock for my entire exchange,but I did not have any issues with the sun until this trip. Totally forgot that the sun will come back again after a hiatus during winter. As a result, as much as I enjoyed my boat ride, I got terribly terribly burnt. I brought a cardigan and I dared not remove it for the fear that my arms will get burnt too. The colour change was hilarious. But the sun also made me a bit crazy like always. Tried to sing songs about fishing, but no one other than Li Yu knew the Chinese fishing song. Catching the fish the next day was just as uneventful because I was once again in the boat that was the bystander. We literally used our eye power to fish. But it was quite exciting to see the myriad of colours reflected on the fishes when they first caught the fish. The colours was due to the fish scales. What fish? Why, we only caught herrings. Oh herrings. Herrings and I have a history.

If I could go fishing in the Baltic sea again, I would smile that happily in the sun minus the sunblock. Hahaha. 

The other boat, which did the fishing. Hahaha.

Smoking thing, the thing you use to smoke fishes. 


After catching the fishes, we had to remove the fishes from the nets. It was a fun and tiring activity, but I think I got the hang of it. I quite like doing it. Some of the other classmates, like Sebastian, my "subordinate" quite failed at it. I became his "supervisor". Hahaha. That was quite funny. The scales will detach from the fish once it dies, which is quite soon after you pull it up from the net. This was interesting, because it means that the fish would not be scaly! Yay. I don't eat the skin of the fish for the fear of the scales. The teacher asked us to bring back some of the fish. Some people decided to bring back 2 or 4 or none. Guess how many greedy Rebecca decided to get? 6! On top of that, I asked Si Rui to also get 6. So we have more fishes to play with when we get back. We learned how to clean the fish by pulling the tongue or something to remove the intestines of the fish. That was fun too. We went to to the Lax Boa to clean the fishes. I remember that the toilet in that area was the old school type with a hole as a toilet bowl. It was surprising clean for such a rustic model. Hahaha. There was a wooden house that only housed the toilet. Or a toilet that was in the shape of a mini house with mini curtains and all. But it was cute. Hahaha.

SALMON FARM! 
 We went to feed the salmon in the farm, owned by the owner of Laxboa. You can hear the splashing the salmon made when the food was thrown to them. Boy, were they happy. I would be happy too if those salmon went into my tummy. >:)

I look so happy! Hahaha. 

Ducks on the wall

I guess the owner caught them and filled them?

Feast of SALMON!
 This was hands-down one of the most memorable meals in the enitre exchange. When can you ever ever eat home-smoked salmon, marinated eel, and the whole salmon is there for you to see and it is FREE-FLOW. It is just super crazy and I felt super happy looking at the food. The owner was very nice because he heard that we were from Singapore and his daughter went to Singapore for exchange. So he let us go take our food first. It was crazy hard to take a picture before everyone started.


Look at my crazy happy burnt face >.<

Fishes stuck in the net. 

I realised that it took some practice and technique to remove the fishes from the nets. You have to untangle the net from the gills and pull it out head first. I thought it was fun. Even if the fishes were herring.

One of the other things we did was to take a walk along the coastline. We were walking when we saw a family of baby squirrels running about. The squirrels were not afraid of us at all! They just kept following us and Nina had to chase them away. I quite like walking in the countryside, I realised. Never knew that part of me existed. But it was really beautiful. I even tasted the lake water and it was cold and crisp. So yummy! Apparently it is okay to drink it because the water just melted from the ice, but not a good idea to do so in summer. It will be contaminated.

Wild flowers!

Legless lizard? Worm? Snake?

One of the large summer houses along the coastline. #houseofdreams

Only in Sweden, you drink beer with your lunch on school trips.
 I have to say that I did not really drink the beer because beer makes you pee. Which is a bad idea when you are walking along the coast with no toilet in sight. Hahaha.

So many of these rocks around. 

Wild flower #2

Wild flower #3

A panorama of the coastline

Such beautiful sights, how can I not fall in love with the place? *poignant smile*

Falukorv, pasta, peas and tomato sauce and cheese for dinner.

Oats, cornflakes, milk and apple sauce and lingonberry jam and raisins for breakfast.

Ham, lingonbrod, ghurka och ost pa lunch 
Ol, ham, tomat, ost och polarbrod pa lunch

Best ever lunch: Smoked salmon with and without cheese, marinated herring, gravlax, fake sashimi (haha), salad and potato for lunch

Rhubarb pie and raspberry panna cotta for dessert

Brunch for the last day

Scrumptious feast of leftovers for bunch on the last day. :')

Attempted herring again. 
Notes to self: herring is more palatable with sour cream.

Reflections:
This trip was more distinct in my mind maybe because it was the last Nordic culture trip, and also the latest since I left Sweden. In this trip, we got to talk to the other students more, ref. Florian and Sebastian and I really enjoyed myself. It could be that there were fewer of us (Singaporeans) so we found ways to interact with others. But I really enjoyed myself and learnt a lot in the process. Maybe because it was my last 2 weeks in Sweden, so everything felt so surreal. I am not sure. But I really do miss the place and I also know that I will never be there in the same circumstance again. It is devastating to think of it that way, but I figured that's life. So I promise myself. Savour all opportunities. You will never know where life brings you. 

Of course, there is a lot more to the story about the herrings, and I think I will talk about it next time. That's a embarrassing and funny story to tell. :')

July 11, 2015

Amigurumi gift ideas

Sorry again for the long hiatus, but I am back for a bit! :) I started my internship 9 weeks back and I am inching towards the last week of my internship. It has been an interesting experience in this MNC, and I have learnt quite a lot. I do not regret giving up the other internship opportunity as I felt that this internship given me chances to try things I have never tried before, such as creating infographics and doing a presentation in front of fellow colleagues. At the same time, my colleagues are also very friendly. Since I would not ever be in this industry (Because I am not qualified), it has been a really good experience for me. :)

That being said, it is time to worry about farewell gifts for the colleagues! After thinking for a very long time, I decided to crochet some amigurumi for my colleagues. Since I have not made it known that I can do that, I figured it would be a nice surprise for my colleagues. At the same time, I can practise my crocheting skills. It has been a while since I crocheted, so I really really enjoyed it! :)
It is my last weekend, but I have not finished crocheting. I have been doing it on and off for the past week and a half and I still have some to go before I have something for everyone. Making stuff is one thing, but deciding what to give who is another thing. :/

So let me share what I have been making :D

First up, is this very adorable pacman ghost! This is the tutorial that I used to make the ghost. It was very fun to make. Thank you for sharing the tutorial, Ms premise conclusion!

Here's my pacman ghost. It does not quite look like a ghost with such cute eyes, but it's okay. I am thinking if I should embellish it with something. Hmmm.



Then, I found this tutorial for making a lemon. This one is for my fellow intern, who followed the other colleagues in putting lemon slices into the water then asked me if she can drink milk. She is so funny. Hahaha. When I told her the lemon water will react with the milk to become curd, she did not drink the milk. Hahaha. The only think about the tutorial is that I was not able to gauge where to put the eyes, so my lemon's eye came out a little too much to the left side. But I think it is still cute nevertheless.

Here's the lemon!


I found another tutorial which I could not resist. A tutorial on making a sperm whale! It is super adorable and the tutorial can be found here!

And here's my whale friend :)


Isn't this super adorable? I had so much fun making it! I was thinking of adding a suction it so that my colleague (who has a young child) can stick it on the car window. But I am still thinking about it. :)

Okay, so this is my super quick update on the stuff I have been doing lately. When I finish everything, I will post a picture with all the things I have made. I am going to be so busy hooking this weekend. :D

May 05, 2015

Alienation from the food you eat.

Another procrastination post. I was talking to my friends about the potential "grad" trip that I want to go to Japan and the topic of food came up. I have always been quite adventurous with my food (to a certain extent) and mentioned my desire to try raw octopus in Japan. this resulted in a mini debate about karma and the food you eat.

Here is how our conversation started.





So this was where I left the "debate". Ours is clearly a difference in mindset, and I do not foresee us agreeing on this topic. But I thought about this before.

In sociology, we learnt that because of capitalism, we are alienated from the product itself as well as the process of making the product. Marx said this with regards to the people producing it.

However, I think (and many other think) that the producers are not the only ones who are alienated from the product. The consumers themselves (yes, that's us) are also alienated from the products we consume. Have you ever thought about the number of chicken wings you eat from the roasted chicken wing shop? 2 wings = 1 chicken. How many chickens were killed for your consumption? It may be just the wings, but one chicken only has 2 wings! If you eat 10 wings, that's 5 chickens killed.

Many of us cannot even stomach the thought of killing an ant. Much less a wriggling live chicken. So how can we even bear to consume so many wings?! Because somehow, we forgot that the chickens had to be killed. Then, in this case, if you get bad karma from killing the chicken, who gets the bad karma? The one who killed the chicken, the one who cooked the chicken, or the one who consumed the chicken? If you think about this, 100 years ago, unless you are a rich lord with kitchen staff to help you. The person who would be doing all those would be the same person. Alienation from the process of making food is one of the reasons why people consume so much food in modern society. That is my opinion. If you had to kill, defeather and cook 5 chickens to eat 10 wings, are you going to do it? What would you do with the rest of the meat? How long is it going to take you to do all that?

Back to the question of karma. I am not an expert on my own religion, but I think that the idea that eating meat that you didn't kill does not give you bad karma vs eating meat that you have to order to kill on the spot gives you bad karma. I highly doubt that the idea of karma is so simple. My friend's family does not eat crab because crabs need to be steamed alive/killed on the spot. So the idea that you ordered the crab to be killed is bad for your karma. BUT. I beg to differ. Although you may say that the food in the supermarket we buy are already killed and therefore it is less cruel to purchase them, but they were killed for your consumption. And pretending that they died a better death before you purchase them does not make the consumption of meat less cruel.

In fact, the way animals are being killed in the slaughterhouse can be seen as even more inhumane. I had to watch this documentary for one of my modules previously, called "Our Daily Bread" hit the issue to the core. The documentary shows how food is harvested, slaughtered etc. Do you think that being killed by emotionless machines are more humane? These animals were treated like food even before they were food.

Although I know all these and I understand all these, I do not see myself turning vegetarian anytime. I think the whole point is to understand where your food is coming from and acknowledge that even if you did not kill your food by hand, you played a part in its death. And birth as well, of course. And accept that if there is karma for eating other living things, you have to live with it. Not killing your food by your own hand does not mean that you are less guilty of the part you played.

I don't know how to put this through to my friend and I am not sure if it will offend her. So Qinglin, if you ever see this blogpost of mine, please don't get offended. We agree to disagree. :)

May 02, 2015

Birth of a baby, a cause of economic celebration?!

I was studying for my exams, when I decided to take a break and take a look at the news. then I saw this piece of news which gave me something to think about.

Experts say the royal birth could inject tens of millions of pounds into the British economy, with a baby princess particularly lucrative because she could become a fashion trendsetter.(Strait Times, 2015

The news article was about the birth of a new princess in UK, which I am quite happy about! I am already curious to see who the baby looks like! After talking about how the world is so excited for the birth of the new baby, they insert that line. 👆👆👆

Like what!!! You are objectifying a baby even before it is born as a potential trendsetter and profit maker for the economy. That is rather sad. This makes me wonder about the "experts". They must be economists. -___-||| I remember reading an article about Prince George's trip to Australia. The article, although it described his dressing, mostly talked about the boy's antics and tantrums during the trip, how his character was like and his interaction with his parents. I really hope that when the baby girl is shown to the media, the media would not start talking about her eyes, facial features and what she wore. I am sure there are other things to talk about.

Okay, that was all I wanted to say. Now I have to go back to work. >.< I cannot wait for school to end. Why does this semester feels so dreadful.

March 10, 2015

Inequality in daily life and the fastest semester ever!

It seemed like it was just yesterday when I came back from Sweden after my exchange. Time passed so fast and half the semester is already over. It has been more than 6 months since my return and I still suffer from withdrawal symptoms. I think I might have developed a bad case of wanderlust. I just want to go around the world and absorb the awesomeness of the world. Haha. 

However, I have to say that the modules I am taking this semester are rather interesting. For my major, I am taking HS3007 Religion and Society, HS2008 Inequality and Social Class and HS4001 Qualitative Research. They are all my favourite topics, but I have to say that HS2008 is quite a heavy module for a 2000 level course. I think the content is quite worth the effort though! It is giving me a lot of insights into how inequality manifests itself in the nitty gritty parts of life. 

For instance, our consumption of branded goods. Why is it that the people who are struggling to survive with everyday live would still partake in the consumption of luxury goods? I used to have a friend in secondary school who was under the Financial Assistance Scheme. However, when she mentioned that she had a PSP which her mom bought for her, I judged her. Why would she spend such money on a game console when she is under the FAS scheme? One of the readings from Pugh gave me some insights with regards to this. Such symbolic consumption is more than an allocation of monetary resource. My friend's parents partook in symbolic indulgence, to show that they were able to provide their children with material goods. In turn, my friend gets a sense of belonging, a feeling that she had membership with the group. However, I think it backfired on her in this case because I was truly troubled about her priorities at that time. I kept wondering why did she spend the money on the game console. I guess I see it from a different perspective now and I really regret judging her. 

HS4001 was more interesting in my opinion. The readings for the module was very interesting, but I think it is not as easy to score. It is not so easy doing an ethnography and my partner and I overlooked some aspects, causing our grades to suffer. However, I am glad that I learnt something from it. We were supposed to write a self ethnography about ourselves. And I thought it would be interesting to share it here. In case I lose the document somewhere along the way, at least there would be a record of it. My self-ethnography also has inequality embedded in it. 

"Do you have any staple bullets?" I asked the friend next to me.
She looked at me for a moment, then said, "It is not staple bullets, it is staples. And I don't have any."
At the age of seven, I never felt that there was anything wrong with "staple bullets". My parents called them as such, and I thought everyone used the same phrase to refer to the small metal pieces we used to attach papers together. It was only when I grew older that I realised my linguistic ability marginalised me from most of the school.
I was in a single sex,  mission school. During that time I realised a group of friends and myself were slightly different from the rest of our schoolmates. Most of the students in my school came in through religious or familial affiliation. Unlike the most of my friends, I got in through a stroke of luck. Having only a fifteen percent chance of getting into school through the last phase of balloting,  I got in. Majority of the students of my school came from upper middle class families and students under the financial assistance scheme (FAS) were a rarity. I was not in FAS, but my family was not very well to do either. I would say, I belonged in the lower middle class. 
I realised that I had a different level of linguistic ability when I was constantly being picked on by the English teacher and often got my compositions read out loud in class. Not because it was amazing, but because it was an example of a bad composition. Some of my classmates also laughed at some of my mispronounications and never hesitated to correct me while snickering. 
In introspect, I realised that my inability to use the English language as well as my school mates was due to a lack of social capital.  I learnt whatever I knew about the language from my mother. However, my mother was not that eloquent in the English language as well, because she came from as chinese speaking family and only started to use the English language when she started working full time. Despite her inability to speak standard English,  she chose to use it as the main language when speaking to my brother and I.
I was not the only one who spoke differently from majority of the school. There were a group of girls who often hang out together in my class because they did not speak in the English language as well as the rest of the school. They often used Chinese when communicating with each other instead. I realised I did not fit in with them either. My Chinese language ability was also limited and I found myself speaking my English while they reply me in mandarin. It was kind of awkward sometimes when they made the effort to reply me in English instead.
That was when I realised that linguistic ability was very strongly linked to the habitus of a person,  the language that one speaks most know a regular basis and how you used the language. This is what bordieu calls habitus. This habitus originates mainly from the household, because young girls usually spend most of their time at home. The linguistic ability of one child is highly dependent on the linguistic ability of the parents. The child linguistic ability becomes a form of social capital in school and also a tool in power relations. The corrections on my usage of the English language in school by my classmates were actually a form of power play where they tried to establosh some form of social hierarchy based on your linguistic  ability. People who were not able to use the English language proficiently were considered more inferior.
I hope you enjoyed reading my mini auto ethnography. Laavy mentioned that we will get back to this when we reach week 11 and I am kind of looking forward to it. It had been a while since I had to write a timed personal recount kind of thing and I really enjoyed it. 


December 09, 2014

The last bit of time.

This post is from 11 months ago, but I decided to post it anyway. This was hard work. Haha.

Now that I have a wee bit time on my hands, I wanted to finish the flour left in the kitchen. I still have some wholemeal flour, bread flour and top flour in the cupboard. After all, no one is going to bake anything for 6 months when I am gone. So I attempted making pizza again, this time with better ingredients. Heh heh.

Before baking

After baking! 
It was goooood. After calculating the cost, I realised that baking your own pizza is not thaaat cheap.

Cheese                  ~$8
Tomatoes              ~$0.50
Pineapples             ~$1.00
Ham                      ~$3.00
Onions                  ~$0.50
Flour                     ~$0.50    
                             ~$13.50

This is for 2 pizzas about the size of my chopping board. Hmmmm. But the satisfaction is beyond words.

I love making things from scratch.



January 13, 2014

Being able to talk is a blessing

Yesterday, while I was at my grandparents house helping my grandma prepare her medicine, I decided to pack up her wardrobe at the same time . I personally prefer to talk to her while I do things around her, so I was just packing the clothes and talking to her at the same time. She hardly talks now, so I was not expecting her to reply me.

I picked up this pair of long purple pants and I commented that the pants was too long for her to wear now. Just then, she started to reply that it was from when... then, she stopped talking, started again, stopped again, and sighed.

I know she wants to be able to communicate so badly, but she is unable to. Seeing my grandma like this really breaks my heart. I am not sure if she is unable to form the words, or if she is having difficulties trying to remember what words to use. But it really breaks my heart to see her like this.

Being able to speak is really a blessing. This makes me wonder why people use their freedom to talk to hurt other people. Their are so many others who are unable to communicate evem if they would love to. The world is really cruel.

As for my grandma, I believe that her inability to form sentences stems from the lack of use. She decided to stop talking for a while for some reason, but i can see that she is gradually becoming more willing to speak now. However, now thst she is willing, she does not seem to be able to do it very well.

After she sighed, I told her to try practise more to herself and I will look forward to talk to her when I get back.

I hope she will get better when I come bak from Sweden.

January 06, 2014

Start of a new beginning.

It is finally 2014, but I would like to reflect on 2013 before I forget about it.

2013 has been quite a ride. Looking back at the first post of 2013, I decided that I have accomplished 2 out of 3 of my resolutions. Not too bad.

I wanted to procrastinate less and work harder for 2013. I think I managed to meet my goal somewhat. I kinda learnt to set my priorities right. It really feels good when you have completed work before hand. No rushing out my essay the night before. Okay, that is a lie. I had to do that several times, but I did put in a lot more effort than before in my school work. However, I have to add that my performance is still not as good as I would like it to be. 6 modules in a semester is not that fun. Especially if all six modules are writing modules. I felt a lot of stress from quite a few modules and I am thankful that it is all over. I will try my best to not apply for so many examinable modules in a semester.

In 2013, I took the leap and applied for student exchange and student buddy programme. I am passionate about both the programmes, one to help other foreign students, and the other is to experience being a foreign student myself. I have always wanted to go on an exchange for one semester and I finally got the chance. I am really really thankful for this opportunity and I hope it was be a fruitful trip.

I have also started baking again. I thought my passion for baking has diminished, but I thought wrong. Previously, no one wanted to eat the cakes and cookies I baked at home, because of the lack of guinea pigs, I could not bake too much. So I decided to try baking something I actually like to eat. BREAD. Bread is so amazingly delicious, I cannot even..... That being said, it is no wonder I did not lose the extra 5 kilograms.
 -____-

All in all, 2013 has been eventful, with Qinglin joining into our clique, our really hilarious moments together, joining the student buddy programme, applying for the student exchange programme and everything else which I have probably forgotten.

One thing that I feel requires some special mention is the fact that 2013 marked the 21st year for many of my friends and myself. As the years go by, I realise that life really brings us to different places. Some of us change drastically, some of us remain the same. What Marx mentioned really rang true as well. Our material reality really shapes how we think and what we become. I have also officially become an adult. It was a great party with great accompany. I think most of us enjoyed ourselves.

For the new year, I want to focus more on self improvement. Becoming more independent, learning how to communicate with more people and learning how to cope in a totally new environment. I predict that I will have a lot of new experiences, so I am really excited. ^^

Because I will not be in Singapore for 6 months, I also really hope that my family will stay healthy and happy till I get back. I doubt I will be able to do much crafting in Sweden, so I will catch up on crafting when I get back!

To a wondrous 2014!


December 18, 2013

Anticipation

AHHH. Everything is finally over. I am finally 21, and I managed to go through my chalet without too much hiccups (Other than the issue with the banner) I still feel that the banner was really pretty, and it was a waste I did not manage to use it, not to mention the high opportunity cost. :( My GPA will probably commit suicide as a result. I just hope that the building it fell off from is a low-rise one and I would be able to undo the damage done when I get back to Singapore. But I have to be really grateful that I have such supportive friends especially Theresa and Josephine. <3 My other friends also helped to take pictures as well. As times like this, I really feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends. Thanks everyone. For coming and helping. <3

That aside, I have to say that I am wayyy too excited for my Swedish trip. I have never been away from home for so long and I think it will be a great learning journey for me. Especially in terms of money and time. While preparing for the trip, I realised how expensive can going on an exchange be.

REALLY EXPENSIVE.

So far, even before stepping out of Singapore, I have already spent S$3000 for the air ticket and other important documents such as residence permit and insurance. -__-||| I have to be really thankful that so far, I have gotten a lot of support(especially financial support) from my parents. I hope to be as frugal as possible during the trip and hope not to be too heavily in debt to my parents. D:

I AM STILL VERY EXCITED.

I am going to be away from home for the longest time I have ever been away from home. AHHH. Talk about independence. Luckily for me, I will be travelling with 12 other people from NTU to Linkoping so I will not be too lonely. ^^ So excited for the exchange especially because I have some of  my clique-mates going with me too. AHHH. Pleasepleaseplease let everything go on smoothly.

I have decided to create a separate blog to document my exchange so that my relatives will be able to see and experience being in Europe with me. I am going to miss my family quite a bit. I am sure.

December 08, 2013

Feeling really terrible.

Have you ever wondered why God always give us things in life that make us feel like crap?

The experience of planning for a birthday party seriously feel like crap. Why make any plans when they are doomed to fail anyway?! For the sake of the chalet, I painstakingly did up my banner on PS. I spent quite a lot of time on it only to be shot down every single time I let my mom see it. I did not like the pre-made ones she showed me either. We argued everytime we discuss the banner.

"The arch is not high enough."

"Cursive font looks better"

"Put more balloons."

"The colours do not stand out."

Of all the times I let her look at it, there was not one compliment. Not at all. Nada. On a normal day, I would probably let it slide and work on it better. But when I am having stress from exams, it becomes really taxing for me to not break down and cry at the stress.

Well, today was the last straw. It is a mistake to plan the chalet with just one day to do everything. Because the banner printing shop could not print my banner so we had to do it ourselves.There are so mini mistakes in the middle I do not even know where to start. 1) Wanting to have a banner in the first place, 2) Giving in to something I really do not like 3) Not giving in completely 4) Trying to get everyone's approval 5) Not being able to let go completely.

I just wanted to feel like I did something for the event instead of letting my mom do everything. I wanted it to have something of myself.

All I did was to make a fool out of myself and make everyone unhappy. This is really terrible. I do not like it.

I really do not know what is going to happen tomorrow and I am scared to sleep for the fear that my eyes remain puffy tomorrow. I hope that all will just magically become better. I need a fairy godmother ASAP. \


October 21, 2013

Stress is good for health. Seriously?

Whoever coined in that phrase is a little crazy. I absolutely detest feeling stressed! It is like sleeping on the floor for 2 nights in a row. You body feels achy and a massage does not help because it is all in the mind!

Boo hoooo.

So many assignment and too little time. I hope that I would be able to finish most of them by this week so that I will have sufficient time to finish studying all my modules for the exam. This semester is especially important because I will have my GPA freezed next semester because I am going for exchange. >.< Plus, I am taking 6 modules! I am crazy. First time taking six modules and I am crying holy mama! Hahaha. That kind of came out a little off.

At this point of time, I really have to be grateful for my fellow coursemates. Since they probably do not know the existence of this blog, I think it would be safe to say that because they are so on the ball, they have influenced me to do the same. If it was me in the past, I think I might keep procrastinating till the last minute. Thanks to them, I have discovered the joy of doing much of my work before the deadline and finding the discipline to do so because everyone else is doing it and you do not want to lose out.

Unfortunately, this stress has shown its side effects again. Craving for fast food is not fun when you are trying to lose weight. My weight loss attempt has been not very successful so far. Sigh o sigh.

To illustrate how studious(relatively) I am, here's a picture of my messy table.


Notes with home made mind-map goodness(I wish)

Anyway, let me sidetrack a bit. SAJC made us do the love language test when I was there for one of the moral education lessons. I love taking these personality tests even though they are not entirely reliable and they can be utterly flawed. It is fun. So I wanted to see if I changed or something, so I did it again, this time online.


Oh look! Not much change! I think I used to be a little higher in words of affirmation, but now I have acts of service standing on equal grounds. Hahaha. Hmmmm. What is to be said from this test?


October 11, 2013

Education as an end instead of the means to an end.

So I got back my first midterm paper today. I did not do well at all, I got a B- and I feel very depressed about it. This module is my minor-to-be and I really enjoy the tutorials and lectures. So I reread my paper and got very confused as to why I got my grade. I really dislike getting bad grades. Technically speaking, B- is not that bad, but I would like for my grade to be better because I have to freeze it next semester.

After I got back my paper, I had a mini breakdown and I just felt so so upset and distressed because I really thought that I nailed it. I was so disturbed by it that I decided to walk home from the train station to recover myself. On my way home, I walked past a bus stop and saw this old lady wave me down. She wanted me to help her carry her purchases. I hesitated to help her because my parents warned me against old folks who scam people and accused the person who helped them of theft. I was seriously thinking of just pretending I did not understand. In the end, I decided to carry her (really heavy) purchases all the way to this other bus stop. The lady was a frail and you can tell she is having trouble walking quickly.

At that point of time, I just felt as if everything was better. Life is not just about exams and grades. There are much more to life than school. More importantly, I thought about why I am studying.

It is true that it is a means to an end, so that I will be able to survive in society when I leave school. But more significantly, it is supposed to be for my own personal development. For me to be able to understand why the society works as it does. Education is an end in itself. Learning and gaining the knowledge should be rewarding enough to make me happy. Why does my grades matter so much anyway?

The sad truth is, it does. In our meritocratic society, everything is based on the certificate. So in order to do well in life, I have to obtain the grades required.

So I would just have to resign myself to fate and consult my tutor regarding my grades and essay and figure out how can I do better for my final exams.

August 31, 2013

Someone is going to SWEDEN! :D

OMGOMGOMG. I made it! I got accepted into Linkoping! I am so excited. I will be going in Spring 2014, so it is going to be really really cold. BUT I AM EXCITED.

This is such a dream come true. After dreaming about it since I came to NTU, I finally see my goal coming nearer. AND IT IS LESS THAN A YEAR AWAY. OMG, actually, it is 5 more months. OMG. I am just so overwhelmed and thankful and grateful.

The people I really have to thank are my parents. Thank you for allowing me to go. I hope that they can go to Denmark next year so that we can meet up!

I will definitely have another blog up when I am there. I am just so excited.

But before that, I know that I have to freeze my GPA on a good note, so I am gonna study really hard this semester. Starting now. Haha.

Ciao!

August 17, 2013

First week of school after summer holidays

OMG. This is just the first week of school and I already have so much to do! I have to plan for my exchange programme, plan up my deadlines, read my readings for the first week, print the readings and prepare for people's birthdays. >.<

I am just sooo busy.

The worst part is the balloting for the modules. So difficult for me to get my minor module. I did not get it. I am still quite helpless and I am wondering what to do nowwww. :(

Let's hope that all goes well for this semester.

Wish me all the best. *crosses fingers*

August 09, 2013

Happy Birthday, Singapore.

Now that I think about it, I kind of miss the assembly we had in Junior college, Secondary and Primary school. The singing of the National Anthem and the saying of the pledge may have started out as an attempt by the Government to bond the students together through common practices, but I think that to the most of us,  it now has a special meaning of its own. Through these everyday practices, I feel that I have subconsciously attached some meanings to the process of singing the National Anthem.

In the past, I have dreaded assembly because it meant that I had to wake up extra early to queue up at the parade ground to stand there and sing the anthem, say the pledge and listen to the various people preach. 

Now, I think I miss it. Definitely not enough to wake up earlier for school, but I miss the entire routine. While it is Singapore's birthday today, I do not really feel as patriotic or hyped up for it as I did before. 

The mood is totally different now. In Primary school, everyone anticipated National day because we would get to see the teachers perform on stage, sing and dance along to all the songs and we get an extra holiday. We also had class parties where we brought different food to school to share with all the classmates. In Secondary school, I got to participate in the parade because I was in Girl Guides. Standing in the midst of the parade actually made me feel somewhat important. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to be in the National Day Parade contingent because I was not 1.65m tall. T.T It was sooo sad. I loved singing the National day theme songs and the ritual running around the school hall in our uniforms. Those were the days that we will never forget, I think. In Junior college, it was not very fun. Junior College was not really fun for me anyway. But I remember the activities that we were made to participate in like the rojak making competition and the lyrics game. 

It is so different in University because the National day (9 August) falls in the Summer Holidays. It means no celebration of any sort! :( I have decided that I will have a mini celebration by wearing red and white on Monday the first day of school. Hahaha. I am just not used to doing nothing for National day. 

As I watched the parade on the television (I never seem to be able to win any tickets...) I had some thoughts. I was never a men in uniform kind of person, but I have to admit that the people in uniform today really looked smart. Kudos to them for the endless rehearsals in the sun and suffering in the singapore heat covered from head to toe from berets to gloves to covered shoes. Well done. If I ever have the chance to take part in the parade, I would. Because it is a form of pride and it is the kind of story which you will tell your grandchildren in years to come. The kind of heartwarming story that I love listening. 

Talking about grandchildren, I asked my grandpa that day about how he proposed to my grandma. It was so adorable because he just laughed and told me to ask my grandma. I did, and she laughed too. It is so difficult to get a reaction from her nowadays. It is so sad to see her looking so blank and helpless most of the time that I think most of my family members tries to make her laugh as much as possible. I really hope that she will start talking again one day. :') 

Anyway, I think it is enough blabbering for one day. 

Happy Birthday Singapore. I hope you will enjoy many more prosperous years to come. <3 

August 04, 2013

What's baking in the oven?

I have been a little lagging in my crafting lately. No craft inspiration:( On the other hand, I have been baking. A lot. I use my oven 3 times a week! Hahaha. Must be due to the long baking hiatus of 2-3 years. 


Best bread I have baked so far. It is really pretty and it tastes so good! :)



Made my very own vegetable soup, which was good, but the pea smell never went away. 80/100 because of that. I will make this again, but not too soon.


The bread after my best bread. Much uglier, but still fluffy. Salty for some reason. I was so upset after this because my attempt to bake 2 batches of bread failed big time. :(


Made my own vegetarian lunch on a stay home day. glass noodles with mock abalone and celery, rose scented tea from indonesia and green bean soup, which was funky. :/


Made more buttercream.


This was a good meal. roasted pork, roasted duck and chicken with romaine lettuce and an apple and pickles and an egg. Eaten through the day because it was wayy too much for one meal. Hahaha.


Nutella bars?! The nutella became dry and the bars were hard like rocks. :( Kinda disappointed since it was my first time trying out a bar recipe. 


First try at pizza baking. FAILED. Because the cheese was not nice! I am so sad about it. Because I was had high hopes. :(


Really fluffy white bread! It was nice! Some are wrapped with sausages and what not.


When I first started working as the receptionist, I ate Korean food because I was alone.
They served me 6 side dishes and I had jajameun(spelling?!) for $11. I think it was worth it^^


Found a place in marina square which had semi buffet. Not bad!

 Some fish for me.

Ugly little sausage bread which was not bad!


Potato with spring onions and ham and cheese. OMG. This was good.


Had dinner at this place for Patricia's birthday. The service was not good, but I lovelovelove the kiwi juice. Good juice they have there.


Went to the Japanese place again with my mom. I think she liked it. :)


Went to brew werks?! I forgot the name, but the food was okay. Typical western food place where I ordered my normal sandwich. Because you can hardly go wrong with bread, cheese and ham. Unlike my parents who ordered chicken and shepherd's pie respectively and had difficulty finishing their food. Hahaha.


Honey oatmeal bread which did not rise properly. I kind of did it in a rush. Maybe that's why it tasted so bad and dense. :(


Went with lynette to the standing sushi bar! 25 slices of salmon for $15! Such a good deal. I had it with $2 sake and we had ice cream after that. I like eating with lynette. Hahaha. We have really similar tastes for food. We order the same thing half the time. Hahahaha. Actually, anything with salmon works for us.


Whole meal tortilla that tasted just like tortilla. Hahaha. 


For all the good food that I have been enjoying, I now need to lose the weight I gained. T.T 

I have one week of holidays left. Let's endeavour to lose 2kg this week. :(