Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Xmas Gives

This holidays, together with her next door friend have been attending a once a week baking class (holiday distraction). Was quite a frustration upon seeing their end results not as seen at the class. Then again, it was an intermediate adult baking class. And NOT hands on. Their attention then turn to cookies. Xmas cookies. For the last two sundays, cookies have been popping out of the oven. Youngest, xmas presents for all close and dear to her. Merry Xmas!!!! Will be taking a short trip up north.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Something Wee

" When he felt the gum around the tooth was gaping nicely, he gripped the tooth with pliers and tried to yank it out. For some ungodly reason, my molar stuck on like the Rock of Gibraltar. The quack tried again and again without success. He seemed frustrated, if not disgusted, to the point of cursing under his breath. But my stubborn molar would not give in and come out. Then, he used a technique that could not have been in any texbook of dentistry. He broke the molar into pieces to my screams and the shivers of my mother. The quack was unstoppable. My mother pleaded with him to stop but he took no heed. I reckon he felt his reputation was at stake. He said it should be alright; to bear with him. I was asked to wash my mouth of the continuous flow of blood and spit into the spittoon so many times that I lost count. By then I was more dead than alive"

taken from page 16 of Glimpses and reflections of a past president of Singapore. Been reading this again as my bedtime book.

Friday, December 17, 2010

L for life

Plunging 12 floors into the swimming pool and survived with only bruises and discharged after two days of observation. Her time is not up yet. Cousin of mine, 46 year old mother of 3 preparing to begin hemodialysis due to kidney failure as a result of being knowingly ignorance to diabetes. A father of 2, unconscious on a Life Support machine, awaiting for a suitable heart, which all began from a slimming pill. A woman in her 50s critically ill, awaiting for a suitable liver after months of comsuming "herbal pill" to ease her pain. In this time and age, many still take life for granted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A song N A run

Recently it's back to hitting the road again. Needed to build up cardio endurance and to heed the gentle reminder from the weighing scale. (Xmas is round the corner with CNY just a stone throw away!)Somehow, the rhytm and the beat of music makes jogging more bearable(running is never my choice of exercise) as I had both my ears plugged. Quite a tangle of wire until I was given an early xmas present. Plantronic BackBeat 903. Wireless bluetooth stereo headset that takes calls too! Neatly tucked behind both ears. Best xmas present.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Using bare hands, the meat and bone is meticulously stripped off the carcass. Sawdust to absord the moisture and cotton wool and stick to bring it back to life. A behind the scene tour of the Raffles Museum of biodiversity. Youngest was uncomfortable looking at all things dead liken it to an animal morgue. When we entered the preservation room, many could not stomach the smell initially. Most animals and birds there were brought in by the public which many were found dead on expressways.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sad Passing

Not many outside Penang may have heard of him but he made a difference. To the island and it's inhabitants. Dr Lim Chong Eu the former Chief Minister of Penang, passed on last wednesday at the ripe old age of 91.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Amorphophallus titanum

If time permits, do visit the singapore botanic garden this weekend to see this rare event. The Amorphophallus titanum Flower. Was there last week but alas it has yet to bloom fully in all it's glory and stink!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Youngest bought this for her sister. Knows sister well, for during these last few weeks, eldest have been burning the midnight oil. It's the exam time for her. Sometimes all that is needed is a little sweet placebo to do the trick.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


At a mall last weekend for dinner when by chance it coincide with the launch of the latest techno gadget of getting butts off sofa. 6 to 16 year olds jumping, running and dancing in front of the screen wireless. The catch Phrase: you are the controller. Xbox360Kinect. A dance routine for eldest to sweat it out and to recharge for another session of mugging, son would definately need some good jumps and punches to perk his lethargic day and youngest will be occupied this holidays with all the fitness games(hopefully).
That was last weekend. Youngest had so much fun bowling and volleyball, she had to give monday a rest. Her hands were too sore to hold up her trumpet for band practice that morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

100 1/80 5/3 Click!

ISO, shutter speed, aperture. All the adjustments before a perfect shot came be taken. A 3 day crash course on Basic Photography using a DSLR. So much to learn and so much patience crawling on all fours at the botanic garden guided by the Professionals. Am I ready to lug around a 800g around my neck wherever I go? Or be contented and frustrated(when it comes to night shots) with the compact canon IXUS?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cockcroach n Herbs

In her quest for the perfect shot, she missed a step and fell. One look by the elderly sinseh , (somewhere in ChaoYang, Swatow) she was whisked off for an x-ray. A hair line fracture on the anklebone. Bandaged in herbal medication pack and two weeks supplies of brewing concoction of everything natural, to be drunk twice a day. This tu die chong, wingless cockcroach is said to Invigorate the Blood and Dispel Blood Stasis and to assist in bone healing. Her ankle is healing well, no pain as she hobbles around with NO cast.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of Mother & Daughter

Published in the new straits times. Each time I read this, I get a lump in my throat.
By Lee Wei Ling
Oct 31, 2010 Mourning my mother
When it comes to our mother-daughter bond, emotion triumphs over logic
My mother Kwa Geok Choo was born on Dec 21, 1920. She came from a family with genes for longevity. Her father died at 89 years old and her mother at 87. Her eldest sister is still alive at 95. My mother, or Mama as I called her, was always health-conscious. She was strict with her diet, eating mainly fish, tofu, vegetables, fruits and unpolished rice. Her cholesterol level was low and her blood pressure was normal. She exercised almost daily, swimming and sometimes taking walks. Sept 16, 2003 was my father Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's 80th birthday. It was a joyous occasion, with no storm clouds in sight. But five weeks later, while accompanying my father to London, Mama had a stroke on Oct 25. It was caused by bleeding into the brain because her blood vessels had become fragile with age. Fortunately, the bleed occurred on the right side of her brain so her speech was unaffected. But she could not see what was in her left visual field. She was flown back to Singapore on Oct 31. As it so happened, my father had already planned to have a prostate operation in November. So they were both admitted to Singapore General Hospital in adjacent rooms, with a sliding door between them so they could keep each other company. The day after she was admitted, the late Dr Balaji Sadasivan, then still practising medicine, dropped by to discuss her case with my father. Papa asked Dr Balaji: 'Will she be able to attend social functions as well as travel with me? If she cannot, her life would be miserable.' The discussion was supposed to have been between Dr Balaji and Papa. But a group of doctors who had just seen my father were nearby and listened to the discussion intently. They got a lesson on marital life that I hoped they would always remember. My father was then 80 years old and my mother 82. Their hair was all white and they looked very different from the handsome couple they once were. But they continued to love each other, through sickness and in health, richer or poorer, for better or worse, so long as they both lived. Mama's rehabilitation programme was intensive, and there were times when she felt tired and disheartened. But the therapists soon found a way to get her to try harder. When they told her that my father was coming to see her do her exercises, she would immediately put in more effort. Both my parents were discharged from hospital on Nov 26. Mama's only residual disability was the tendency to neglect the left side of her body. So Papa would sit on her left side at the dining table so as to be able to prompt her to eat the food on the left side of her plate. Though she recovered well from her 2003 stroke, her doctors and I knew that the blood vessels in her brain were fragile and there was a high chance of another bleed. We decided not to tell my parents about this as it would only cause them worry and there was nothing we could do to prevent another bleed. We felt they should enjoy life rather than worry about something none of us could control. They continued to travel. Prior to her stroke, she would pack his things for him. Now, he tried to pack his things himself. But he would find it difficult to close his luggage bag after he had done packing. In the end, his security officers helped him pack. Prior to the stroke, she would never leave the hotel until he had left for his appointments. She did this in case he needed a particular tie or shirt. In fact, she had always set out what was appropriate for him to wear. After the stroke, she was unable to do this. Still, he wanted her to travel with him. This was because after a hard day's work he could talk to her about his day. The bond between them was as close as ever. Mama was a voracious reader before the stroke. Now, her left visual field defect made reading difficult. But she persisted, using rulers to help her keep her place on the page. Papa was convinced that exercise would be good for her. But after the stroke, she seemed sensitive to cold. So we had several wetsuits tailor-made for her in bright, cheerful colours. When they travelled, Papa would always choose hotels with swimming pools. On one occasion, she wanted to rest rather than swim. 'Today is a public holiday in Singapore,' she said to him. 'Can't I take a rest from swimming?' But he persuaded her to go for her swim. As they both aged, their fitness and agility deteriorated, and aches and pains became part of their daily life. But they both put up with the difficulties stoically, grateful to have each other's company. On May 12, 2008, I was on medical leave and napping in my room at home. A security officer came to call me because Mama had fallen from her chair as she was having breakfast. I took one look at her and realised that the left side of her body was paralysed. Without waiting for an ambulance, we drove her to the National Neuroscience Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I was hoping the stroke was due to an occlusion of a blood vessel, in which case a clot buster could be used and she could recover. Unfortunately, the CT scan showed a bleed into her right brain. I called Papa and my brothers to come to the hospital. I knew there was no chance of a good outcome, but I wanted my family to hear it from the doctors. From then till her death earlier this month, I watched my mother suffer. By last year, she did not seem aware of the people around her. She responded almost exclusively to my father's voice and would keep awake for him to come talk to her late at night. After seeing her suffer despite the best nursing care we could give her, my logical mind told me that death would be kinder than the life she was living. So I was confident I could control my emotions when she actually passed away. But when it came to my turn to speak at her funeral, my voice broke and at one point I had to cover my face as it was twisted with anguish. I was ashamed of myself. Emotion had supplanted logic as I remembered Mama. Over the last week, two natural disasters occurred in Indonesia, killing thousands and making many more homeless. I read about the disasters in the newspaper and thought to myself that these people suffered more than I did. But still, my mother, who had enjoyed 87 years of happy life, remained the dominant thought in my mind. I am totally illogical and much too emotional. I had thought I could face any misfortune or tragedy, but I was wrong. The mother- daughter bond is too strong and it goes beyond logic.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Working life

Working till 68?(The Singapore government may increase retirement age) And why not? I know of one whose sole purpose for getting up in the morning, is to go to work. Comes home have dinner, sits in front of the telly, goes to bed, wakes up the next morning and cycle repeats. Upon retirement at 65, still healthy and hearty, he was at a lost as to what he should do next. Slowly a little discomfort, a little pain a little soreness creeps into the body.
These are individuals whose entire life evolves around work.
I know of a doctor in his late 60s who intend to work till his faculty fails him.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Siput Siput

It's siput I used to find on the beaches of Penang. Digging the wet sand as the waves come in. In Bintan, youngest picked them during our early morning stroll along the beach in Bintan. Blanched it in hot boiling water and presto, fresh seafood.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fox, Micheal J

Still the best trilogy which I never get tired of watching now and then. "Back to the future" Produced some 25 years ago.

Seaweeds n Seashells

Strewn along the beach, seaweeds and seashell of all sorts. A morning of jogging along side the crashing wave while youngest picking up hermit crabs on an empty beach. Wouldn't it be nice if Singapore had such lovely beaches?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sanctuary of the senses

Soothing music against the sound of crashing wave as she slowly rubs you down with aromatic oil. Ever so gentle, ever so mindful. Quite an experience for eldest and I. The Spa at Angsana Bintan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It's a first. Angsana Bintan.

Eldest needed a break from her studies, while son on his semester break just as youngest completed her year end exam. Had a busy 3 weeks entertaining M&D, here for routine medical check-up. Then a message from cousin. A timely invitation for a weekend at Bintan. With just T-shirts and shorts together with swimsuit and sun screen we set off.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's hard. Try as I may, I just can't have my piece of bread, fresh or toasted without a pat of butter. Spread over every inch of the surface from corner to corner follow by, A Sprinkle of sugar. Simply Heavenly. And it has to be Unsalted President.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sun Fun n Punt

It's now incomplete to visit Singapore for the first time, without visiting Sentosa. Since my last trip in 2005, the island has gone through a major facelift. However, the gambling den did not impressed mum. Too small(den), too big(the stake for the slot machine) and too bare(hardly a crowd on a thursday morning) compared to the Highland den.
Decided to spent my $100(levy) on lunch instead.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


On discussing the recent passing of MrsLee, mum told me her wishes. To be cremated and be scattered into the deep blue sea. All she wished is, to be cherished and remembered. I'm in favour of this arrangement for myself too.
It's all about leaving fond memories behind. Life still goes on, long after we have passed on. Was 18 when my paternal grandma died but, I can still vividly see her in my mind.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


After more than half a century together through turbulent years, in sickness and in health, cherishing and loving, it's going to be tough. To carry on alone.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Munch

My colourful lunch when I want something simple. Friend beehoon with, Three little prawns, A sprinkle of chopped peanut , a dash of tiny dried prawns, a spoon of dried chilli power, a pinch of fried onions, a handful of fresh conriander as garnish and finally a squeeze of lime.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


With our humid weather and Very hot sunny daytime, Universal Studio, should seriously consider extending the opening hours till 10pm from 7pm. Last wednesday, Attended a private function at the park which started from 6.30pm till 11.30pm for this occassion and it was just thoroughly enjoyable. Breezy and cool as we strolled through the various theme parks and when youngest was through with the rides,(0nly one the enchanted wings) we had a late supper. Another walk round before reluctantly calling it a night. Must admit the souvenirs are a tad bit pricey but youngest could not resist the slush yard bottle of drink.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hot & Cold

The story written by Sumiko Tan had me tickled pink.
Do click on article to read on her bedroom experience, blowing hot and cold. I'm sure she is not the alone on this issue.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

8th Lunar month

To feel happiness, one also experience sadness. The theory of yin and yan. Negative and positive. Even in chinese tradtional snack. The Mooncake. Sweet lotus paste with saltish egg yolk. A play of saltish sweetness to the palate, epitomizing what humanity is all about.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Innocent Eye

Not dog ears but chewed books corner, neatly bitten off wires, tiny teeth marks on rubber mats and shoes!! Little did we realised fur ball with it's innocent eye and quiet dispostion was quietly gnawing away while we were not looking. In the wild, he would probably be spending his time wearing his teeth out on twigs, roots and barks. For the time being until he grows out of this phase, he is confined to the balcony.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


One of my favourite, ang ku kueh. A dollop of sweetish mung bean paste wrapped in a chewy reddish coloured glutinous rice dough placed on a piece of banana leave. Discovered a shop near my home, selling this delectable snack.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


It's amazing to see a sea of yellow shirts under pochos, making their way to the Starting Point in the early drizzly. Our first time participating in the Yellow Ribbon Run this morning. Youngest and I. As it was wet, we brisk walked way most of the way. Quite an experienced jogging, with the rain trickling down the face, fogging up the glasses and the feet thoroughly soaked. Ended at the field of the huge prison compound 6km and 70 min or so later, still raining. Next year? Yes, why not.

Nuts of Nutmeg

Nutmeg was of prime importance during the era of spice trade and colonialism in the 16th century. Considered to be a useful medicine in Asian societies. Arabs used to treat digestive problems and also valued as an aphrodisiac. The Indians used it to combat asthma and heart complaints and as a sedative. Nutmeg also was seen as having magical properties and is one of the ingredients of a magical perfume described in the most famous of all the grimoires, or black books of the sorcerers, The Key of Solomon the King.
Me, I just like the nutmeg scent. Simply therapeutic

Saturday, September 04, 2010

At The Botanic

Saturday morning at the botanic garden. A guided walk on the medicinal plants. Armed with a hat, sunblock and a camera I was ready. At the main entrance of the botanic garden we were introduced to the oil palm tree, the star apple trees that lined both side of the walkway, the blue marble tree and the figs. As we made our way to the ginger garden we stopped to sample the ulams(tropical ferns and leaves the malay eats as salad with sambal) that can be found along the way. As the birders would say, seeing the cinnamon, camphor and clove and the nutmeg tree was a lifer for me. Next week 9am it's the rainforest walk. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fig Fix

Fresh turkish fig. A first for me. Have seen many fig plants here in Singapore but most are not palatable. An important food source for the birds and other small animals. Upon checking, found that fig has the highest plant source of calcium and fiber. Dried figs are rich in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K. Has laxative effect and contain many antioxidants. Looks like I'll be having figs on my "Must eat List".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just Us

Saturday night dinner:
Eldest -not available. Taking the Arubian Noc and delegate for an outing.
Son -not available. Basketball game with his former secondary school friends.
Youngest-not available. Dinner followed by a school band concert with girlfriends.
So a simple dinner and a glass 0f beer at the Nirai Kanai Okinawan restaurant.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Boarded the mrt at Paya Lebar on a friday afternoon and I caught sight of this. Oblivious to the surrounding as he sat by the train door, reading his book . Even when the mrt doors open and passengers trouped in and out, with some accidentally nudging him. A sight so rare today. At Clementi he alighted. Alone. I'm sure his mother would be proud of him if she sees this photo of him.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Each time when I pass this place, the same thought comes to mind. What are they thinking of, as they gazed at the caged birds.Listening to their cries of freedom, that men call singing. Are the men unconsciously lamenting on the fact that they, like the birds are one in the same predicament?

Monday, August 23, 2010


The secret in getting the clock ticking faster. Having most columns of the calendar filled with appointments, events, classes, things to do remember, make, attend, return and pay. Of late the house clock is ticking a little too fast.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Serious Competition

Finally many are sitting up and taking notice of the events happening at the YOG. Thanks to the daily 5 to 8 hours of media coverage. Showing determination and competitiveness the athletes are on their events. Definately no child's play. Some may even go on to compete in the Olympic 2012. Not forgetting the volunteers whom many had to work 3 shifts behind the scene to make sure the athletes, officials and the NOC are well taken care of 24/7 till 26th Aug that is.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A pesky wild weed in the garden but has anyone notice, it's flower? Tiny but delicate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cast Off

While waiting for mum's turn, spotted this room somewhere in PGH. All the tools of the trade hanging on the wall. The room where the plaster of paris is casted and removed. Notice the arm behind the curtain.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Muffin Lesson

When at first you don't suceed try again. And again. Youngest 1st attempt on making muffins at home on a saturday afternoon. The 1st batch did not turn out quite as expected. Undeterred she tried again. In my opnion, home econ subject, is both relevant and necessary. To introduce youngsters to the world of "independence". Independent from the constant reliance on ready cooked/fast food/tv meals. It's the 1st step to taking charge of your health, lifestyle and family values. It's just an introduction, the rest is up to them.