Reading, lately.

Reading Million Dollar Whale is just like train wreck that you know it’s coming, but no one is there to stop it. Every page you flip, you keep seeing dollar sign in millions and billions, so much so that you can’t keep up. That’s how much money that was wasted, which could have used to built multiple schools, hospitals and developing the country. As I flipped the pages, it just unfathomable how this modern heist could have happen here, in my home ground. It’s as thrilling as reading ‘Bad Blood‘.

Reading Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, was quite thought provoking and it was an emotional roller coaster read. I first started this back in October 2018, I couldn’t finish it as it got too depressing. Simply put, the book is about Dying, but on one’s own term. Gawande argues that healthcare and medical treatments ultimate goal is not to prolong survival, but rather it should focus of the quality of life. Definitely not an easy read, but this book perturb me to think deeply about the choices we will all faced as our body aged and our mind breaks down.

Reading The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, was light and cosy (my son’s current favourite word 🙂 ). Apart from getting introduced a more in-depth Danish lifestyle, this books reminds me to appreciate the small things in life. Everyday we were caught up in the ins and outs of life and you tend to forget to enjoy the little things. Some things just worth reminding and this book did just that.

 

 

 

 

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Sharing.

IMG_20190317_212658_358Upon hearing our dear friend’s sis passing, I was caught at a situation where I have to share and explain the news to JH, since he knows our dear friend. He said: “It’s okay, I can share my sister with aunty Jody, then she’ll have a sister again.” I shed a tear. I gave him a big tight hug. He might not know the true meaning of life and death but his heart of gold makes me so proud to be his Mama! This boy’s compassion is through the roof!

If only we can share our loved ones…

 

Parenting.

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The festive week had passed and we’ll be back to work/school tomorrow. During this whole week where I’m with the kids 24/7, I’ve noticed behavioral issues, especially with JH. He’s constantly ignoring our instruction, talk back, whines and complain about Every.Single.Thing. My irritation towards my him have reached a record high. I just feel so defeated all the time.

About a year ago, we’ve come to realized that he’s a sensitive kid and we’ve been cautiously telling ourselves that we need to customize our parenting to suit his expressive emotional behavior. Clearly, not being strict enough seems to be the root cause of all that awful behavior now. The worse thing is his little sister is imitating all those bad manners/action and it just drives my nuts! Both of them are very blessed in that they haven’t had many stresses or struggles in their life. And I’ve beginning to think JH is at the age where he needs to understand that he can’t take things for granted. He needs to earn it, whether it’s TV time, toys, play time or anything that he desires. That’s when I realized I need to pull my shit together and be a better parent if I want to raise them up as solid, reliable, well-grounded and capable kids.

I do not want to give excuses for his sensitive-ness for bad behaviour. That’s why I’ve decided to stop coddling him. Tough love it is for him as much as it breaks my heart sometimes. I’m worried if I don’t correct him now, it’ll be too late. The last thing we want is to let his sensitivity and emotional baggage kept him away from all the lost opportunity.

Things finally got better at the end of the day when hubbs told me he had finally passed his swimming exam to advance to the next level (after 15 months!). It gave me a vision of the lights at the tunnel somehow. And I finally realized how much effort I need to invest in my kids to ensure they are brought up well into fine person.

Bitter. Sweet. Boiling temper. Melted heart. This parenting thing is so bloody tricky.

 

 

 

 

 

About death.

Lately there’s so much devastated news I don’t even know where to begin. The worst was today, when the new of the big C diagnosed to one of my loved one’s family. It just hit way too close to home. And it got me thinking about death itself.

I’ve read ‘when breath becomes air’, ‘being mortal’ and lately ‘the bright hour’. I don’t know why, and I can’t explain why I’m drawn to reading morbid books about life & death. They weren’t easy read for sure, but I find the rawness, real, thought-provoking, inspiration and strength are a comfort to my inner self to grapple with my own mortality.

Maybe I just needed to know there’s more to life than sweating over spilled milk (from my kids)?
Maybe I just needed it to remind myself how lucky I am to be experiencing all the little mundane things that we take for granted?
Or Maybe, just maybe I would like to prepare for it if it ever… ?(I was too young to understand when death took my dad away when I was 4)

What I’ve realized is, as life experience & relationship builds up, the reality of our own (& our loved one) vulnerability & fragility as human beings can set it, and it’s pretty scary, as death (and road to death) is unknown.

Today when I got home, I gave my kids the tightest hugs. Afraid to let go… because this moment, this very moment is so precious that it breaks my heart. Here I am sitting down, writing this, hugging and sniffing my daughter’s mini bolster that she’d left out on the sofa. I vowed to myself, from this moment, I will soak up this life of mine, the good moment and the bad moment, because life is just too fragile to be wasted.

 

Kids update 2019.

Happy new year!
We had been busy catching up with friends and spending time with the family. My kids are now aged 6.5 & 2.5 year now I feel these are the best years yet! Though they bicker/fight/argue a lot (like every 5 mins), I told myself to cherish these moments before it slipped by.

JH just enter Primary 1 and all are new and charming to him. He’s been conversing a lot of interesting topic and thoughts, though we’re still figuring out ways to manage his sensitivity. But all in all, he’s a bright & lovely kid.

Surprisingly, he did pretty okay with his first week at school. No tears, no tantrums and rejection. In fact, I had taken a day off on the first day of school, he’s assured me that he doesn’t need me to be there. When I keep asking him if he knows which gate to go to after school to wait for his transported, his response was: “I know mommy, you’ve said that many times already!”.

D1 – he forgot to bring out his snacks that we prepare for him during break time.
D2 – he forgot to pass the immunization form to his class teacher.
D3 – he forgot to bring his shoes down, as he was pressing the lift button for me. Also this day, we wrote a ‘to do list’ & stick it in his pencil box., so that he’ll remember to: 1. pass the immunization form to his class teacher; 2. show the receipt of the books that I have already purchased to teacher; 3. bring out his food during snack time.

Junna started potty training on 24/11/2018. She started slow, as we weren’t home much. So after a few weeks of hit & miss, on 15/12/2018m she successfully peed 7 times in the potty all by herself! I was really taken by surprise. Started diaper-less at school on 2/9/2018. Gah…. they really are growing up fast!

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Little things that I want to ingrain in my memory:

  1. Eating fruits together on our wooden floor. I will feed them alternatively while they play/chat/read.
  2. Lullaby songs (sound track include:
  3. Bed time stories.
  4. Family hugs.
  5. When both of them kiss me good night on the cheeks together.
  6. Putting hair gel/powder on like it’s a big thing.

This year, I want to do more of the above and add on the list. I also want to spend more one on one time with each of them so they’re able to get our undivided attention. I try to see pass the everyday bickering/whinging/fighting/shouting and soak in all the other sweet moments instead. I particularly remember one Saturday rainy evening and the kids went cycling/scooting at the covered courtyard at our condo. Moments like this is so rare and magical and my heart grew SO big watching them playing together.

Reflection. Revelation. Resolution.

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Looking back at my blog, I’ve not been keeping this blog for the longest time. I post less than the years before. Probably due to the 2 weeks Europe trip, there’s been lots of to-do list, chores, work, and mommy’s duty that I’m constantly running to fulfill. Even when I’m relaxing, I’m thinking about the next task that I need to manage, the next chores that I need to complete. I’m becoming a machine, running around from the moment I wake up to the moment I fell asleep, so much so that I’ve forgotten how to enjoy the moment. I’ve come to this realization when hubs brought me for a surprise movie after work, instead of savoring the moment, my mind starts to scramble and I got antsy worrying for the kids, as well as the chores that I set out to do (i.e. getting the school uniform).

I’ve also realized that I start getting impatient, easily annoyed especially when it comes to the kids. I yelled, I screamed and I’m constantly rushing them that I get so frustrated and I let it out on my kids. I can see myself turning into someone that I loathe and I started to ask myself, how does all the Instagram mommy do it? Their life seems flawless – obedient kids, astounding well being, houses that seems magically clean 24/7. And I feel so awful soon after.

In December, I came across 3 things that made me discover a new revelation and made me embark on the journey of mindfulness:

  1. This video
  2. This tweet
  3. This magazine

And so, I started these 3 routines:

Writing morning pages.
Social Media Detox.
Meditation.

And it helps. I started to write, remind myself to be grateful for the little things (again), be in the moment and celebrate each milestone (instead of losses), one day at a time. Cutting off social media gained me so much time to indulge in reading, spending quality time with kids. Although I don’t see myself gaining much from meditation, I do want to continue it as a motivation to keep me calm and focus.

As we’re coming to an end of year 2018, there will not be any resolution but to continue these routines of mindfulness and hopefully I (& my family) see a better version of myself in this coming new year.

 

 

Bucket Reading List:

While I’m on the book fever streak, I’m listing down my bucket reading list for 2018-2019. Can’t wait to devour these…

  1. Night by Elie Wiesel
  2. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story by Patricia Posner
  3. A gift of Hope: A Moving and Inspirational True Story by Danielle Steel
  4. The girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
  5. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  6. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
  7. There are no Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman
  8. Stephen Hawking: His life and work by Kitty Ferguson
  9. Educated by Tara Westover
  10. Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
  11. How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute by KJ Dell’Antonia
  12. Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks
  13. The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

 

Reading, lately.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Undenied, Elon Musk is one who has a genius mind . I am dumbfounded by how a person has a dream to ‘die on Mars’. Besides unfolding the success of his life stories, the book did not fail to highlight several life event that plunges Musk to the lowest point in his life. Like all successful Siliccon Valley startup billionaire, he’s hard headed, stubborn and is beyond comprehension. But I guess that’s what lead him to create battery cars and commercialising space transport.

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb

Most of us get to live our lives taking education for granted. I for one are ashamed that my son at times refuse to attend school and finds school homework burdensome. Malala Yousafzai, a Pashtun girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley started fighting for girl’s education when she was 10. I am touched by the love for his country and her unwavering faith to God. Reading through the pages, I was horrified by the violent experience she lived through and impressed with her determination to kept going despite the circumstances and risk she and her family have to go through. I’m glad I picked this book up in the airport during my flight to Singapore.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

The highlight of reading this book is not so much about the ways to practise zero waste lifestyle, but more on how Bea Johnson who used to live her life lavishly as a typical American household that enjoyed materialistic possession. Throughout the writings, her voice, her act, she has inspired a global movement towards living more sustainably and responsibly.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Doubt as the biggest scam in Silicon Valley, this book narrates the true accounts of rise and fall of Theranos,  a biomedical start up that aims to commercialize a revolutionary household box that could administer a number of medical tests—all with a single prick. This book narrates a riveting story of one of the biggest corporate fraud, which involved venture capitalist investors such as Rupert Murdoch, Carlos Slim Helú, and the family of Betsy DeVos raising almost a billion dollars; and signed contracts with Walgreens and Safeway all by lying to them. Trust me, once you pick this book up, you can’t seem to put it down. It’s so good that it almost felt like fiction.

 

 

The story of Tulips Clinic.

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5 years ago, I enrolled myself to take up MA in Project Management. 3 years ago, I submitted my Thesis and graduated with 1st class Honors. I remember spending a long long time thinking about my Thesis title. I struggled, as I knew that if I don’t pick a topic that I believed in, I will never be able to complete it whole hearted-ly.

The topic of my Thesis was “Quality of Healthcare Interior Design and its Role in Patient Healing and Staff Efficiency.” I will not elaborate on the details of the 300 pages long thesis, but what I wanted to note was looking back, I am so grateful that I’ve decide to put my heart and soul in writing, discovering, findings and experimenting the effect of Interior Design and the Healthcare Environment. Being an interior designer and healthcare facility planner in the past has instill me the ethos that patients and clinical staff deserves better healthcare environments, simply because thoughtful designed healthcare facilities have numerous positive outcomes, ranging from staff productivity and efficiency, to the healing time of a patient, as well as the overall experience. Patients’ needs and comfort, along with ease of use for maintenance and staff, are essential to recovery. Today, it gives me so much joy and satisfaction to be able to design and create a patient-friendly healthcare environment for a GP clinic locally.

Believe in what you do, believe it whole hearted-ly, because one day, dreams do come true. I would like to thank Tulips Clinic and the people behind it for providing me the opportunity to design a better healthcare environment for patients and family. Design does make a Difference.