30, documented.

I recently turned 30. It was no big deal, my pimples did not disappear magically, big ideas did not appear suddenly and I am still the same; just a year older. But this is definitely a milestone I have reached and am crossing at the moment. There are many articles out there on, “What you need to achieve before you turned 30”, “What are the crazy things you need to do in 20s” etc. I would just like to reflect on what I had done and need to continue doing:

1. Run a half marathon

I know, no big deal. I did three half marathons before I turned 27. And there are many out there who already did the ultra marathon before they turned 30. But this is something I would like to continue for as long as I can: a half marathon a year and to slice the timing each time. Who knows, I may just be a veteran champion in years to come. I am going to do the 21km this coming Sunday. May God be with me.

2.  Play badminton. Well.

I started this routine with 3 other friends earlier this year. We have been playing almost every Monday since. It is a good 2 hour workout every time. Playing badminton is one thing, playing it well is another and it brings satisfaction whenever we did a good rally.

3. Play golf. Well.

Same for badminton. I started this 5 years ago with the same group of girlfriends. It is time to get back to golf. Nothing beats driving the ball to the greens and doing a perfect putt. I want to do this again and do it well.

4. Write.

I used to write. A lot. In English and in Mandarin. I started countless blogs and never get it going. The record number of posts is 44, in this current blog. So, I shall continue from here.

5. Travel.

I started travelling when I was 23 when I was financially independent. And there was no turning back. It opened up my eyes and my world view was significantly changed; for the better of course. Seriously, this may sound cliche but it is true: you’ll never see the beauty of your own country until you’ve visited many others. I truly appreciate the stability of my Singapore. I have been to major cities such as Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing, Toronto and I love them all but nothing beats coming back home.

So far, I have visited:

  1. Malaysia (Johore, Cherating, Malacca, Penang, Cameron Highlands, Genting, Kuala Lumpur)
  2. Indonesia (Lake Toba, Bintan, Batam, Nikoi Island)
  3. Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai)
  4. Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi)
  5. China (Beijing, Shanghai)
  6. Taipei
  7. Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto)
  8. Sri Lanka (Colombo, Nurawa Eliya, Kandy, Galle)
  9. Australia (Melbourne, Sydney)
  10. Canada (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver)

And I want to visit:

  1. Canada (Quebec City, Yellowknife)
  2. China (Yunnan)
  3. Japan (Hokkaido)
  4. Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech, Greece….. etc)
  5. US (San Francisco, New York)
  6. North America (Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia)

and so many others….

This is not an exhaustive list; my life has just begun!

Touched by an Angel

The best gift of all is love. And love is unconditional, regardless of faults.

I experienced this unconditional love yesterday. I met my client at Orchard Road and did a little Christmas shopping. Spirits were high, with Christmas carols blasting in the malls. After I bought a pair of running shoes for myself and a pretty tumbler for a friend, I waited at the bus stop for my express bus back home.

The waiting time was decent and I even managed to find a seat by the window. As I near Marina Bay Sands, my phone rang. There was a number but it was unknown to me. Usually, I am skeptical about answering unknown calls but since I started my career as a housing agent, this phone call ranges from $300 to $20,000.

A Filipino accent. A female. Asking if I were Elaine. Oh yes, I am. She asked me where I am and I asked, “who are you”. Your iPad is with me. OH MY GOD. Flashback of me, carrying my iPad bag, waiting at the bus stop, big shopping bags, tapping of my EZ-link card… without my iPad!..

Where are you? Where are you heading now? How do I meet you? What’s the address?

A string of questions, instructions and everything else filled the conversation. I immediately alighted at the next bus stop and hailed a cab. Uncle, take me to my iPad please. So I called her again and asked for the address. She gave me specific directions on where we are supposed to meet. And boy, it had to rain. On the cab, I sent her a text, saying: I am really thankful for you. I could not imagine if it were in the hands of others. See you in awhile. She replied, It’s my pleasure to help. Is she an angel or what?

I was waiting patiently at the coffee shop, knowing that she will definitely come. And in 10 mins’, I saw this angel handing my iPad bag to me. I shook her hand furiously and bowed many many times, I totally could not express my gratitude. “Can I buy you lunch, please? Join me..” She said she needed to rush back to work. She works as a helper in a huge beautiful bungalow in front of the coffee shop.

I offered her a $50 dollar note from my wallet and she refused. “Ok, how about a Christmas present?” So I reached into my shopping bag and gave her the tumbler that I had bought for a friend. She was happy with that. She did not even want me to call her employer to compliment her. And she left. I was beaming with joy. And so, I text her again. “God will bless you exceedingly and abundantly. You have no idea how thankful I am. Thank you so much, Jamie.” And she replied,”Thank you for the advance Christmas present, Elaine”.

This is the unconditional love God has for me. Despite my forgetfulness and my carelessness, He did not allow me to go through a moment of panic. He sent an angel to restore my loss. I am indeed touched by an angel, Jamie. And that is because He loves me too much to see me devastated.

It really does not matter how much I earn, or what car I drive or where do I travel to. The love, joy and happiness I experienced when touched by an angel is irreplaceable. And because I have experienced grace and love, today, I remember that I should show grace to others too, just like what Jamie has done for me. So, I did not honk at the driver who cut into my lane without signal earlier this morning.

The Man in the Air (Part 01)

A dream in a Dream (24 feb 2010)

I found myself in a cafe. Sipping hot chocolate. The plate of chocolate chip cookies was left untouched. I was drenched and drained. And I was in a wedding dress. A simple satin gown with a long train, I had trouble sitting down. My eye make-up smeared across my face, not bothering me though. I just continued with my hot chocolate as I watched the waiter go up and down the aisle of the cafe.

The waiter asked if I would like to have a seat in the roof-deck, the customers had left. I can lie down and look at the sky, he said. Sounds like a great idea. Such a sweet gesture. I said ok, I moved, dragging my long train along. I removed my wedding dress. It was too heavy to bear. And I lay myself on the mess of satin on the sofa bed, covering myself from the cold with the long train. This is when I open my eyes fully, once again. Blinding but the sky is strikingly beautiful. The whites covering the wholeness of the blues. My eyes moved along with the floating clouds.

I fell asleep. Little reds and blues splattered across the skies. They looked like kites but they were too fast. They flew across the sky in a haphazard manner. They also looked like remote-controlled planes flown by young boys. As I strained my eyes further, I saw faces. Faces on the kites, or planes, whatever they might be. A face, a body… Humans, on a flying equipment. A flying competition between the red and the blue team? I was too tired, too weak to respond to this amazing sight. I just looked upon.

One red kite noticed me and darted towards me. That shook me up from my dream. My eyes flew open and he was right in front of my eyes. Wasn’t I dreaming? No. The sound of the propellers on his back was deafening. He stretched out his hand, and said Hi. Though startled, my reflex was to greet him back. I stretched out my hand to his and said Hi. He held my hand and came closer to me. He whispered in my ear, “I have been looking at you for awhile. You are beautiful.”

That sent a tingle to my toes. I wished time could stop at this moment, with this man staring at me, holding my hand, his mouth close to my ears that I could feel his breath on me. It did not matter that he was a stranger. He felt close.

I can’t but You can.

I fully understand the concept of “mind-went-blank” yesterday. It literally did. I plunged into a whirlwind of sorrowful sobs right after I got into the car and all I could say in between my heaves and sobs is “I cannot remember”. I really can’t. Two-liners for 10 marks questions, I must be kidding. And I actually mixed up the terms. The worst has to be, the questions are actually pretty easy.

This is the first time I actually feel like crap after a paper.

I shall just pray. For favour and for grace. I can’t but God can.

Revision on the Go – 01

Sex is biological and it is determined by the presence of male / female genitals and XY chromosomes. However, gender is socially constructed through socialisation by key agents such as family, community, society, traditional beliefs, values and mass media. For example, at a young age, parents will dress a girl in pink dresses, so that the girl will look feminine. A classic example of making women look feminine is the Chinese culture of foot-binding, that would make a girl walk in small steps, believed to be more feminine.

Mass media played an important role in socialisation where men and women are gender-stereotyped to be masculine and feminine respectively. They are also portrayed to be dominant in the public and private sphere. Men are always portrayed in a workplace, in shirt with tie, carrying a briefcase and women in apron, carrying a child in the kitchen.

Times may have changed, more women are establishing successful careers, even in fields that the men dominated, such as the medical and engineering field. However, have we also come to realise that what the society deemed as successful is a women who can balance both her family and career? We cannot deny that the society do frown upon women who are successful in career but did not succeed as well in managing her family. Sometimes, even if the husband is the one who failed in being faithful, she was blamed to have spent too much time at work, therefore, she was unable to keep her husband at bay? Why this disparity?