过年咯!🧧

先和大家拜个年:祝愿大家新年快乐,身体健康,万事如意!

这一次的回家过年看是简单不过对我来说意义还是很重大的。也不知道从几时开始,我都很珍惜每一次能跟家人一起过年的机会。年轻的时候,会很理所当然,不过随着年龄增长,我越来越觉得,一个家可以非常和谐,非常和睦的好好过年是一件很不容易的事情。

我这个家庭也经历了不少事情。这两年来在这个家里的某些成员也在他们的个个生命的领域经历不少的风风雨雨。我自己也不例外。不过,很多时候人就是要经过什么大风大雨才会学着坚强不屈,冒着风雨也要直奔到下一个避风港。如果生命里少了天摇地动,我们也不懂的体会风平浪静的境界。

这一两年来,在工作里认识了一位三十多岁的一位同事。起初认识他的时候,他人也不大爱说些什么,不过认识和工作久了,他也慢慢的跟我多说了他私人的事情。我也慢慢的比较了解他。但是,他这人啊,还是很年轻。虽然工作上得到上司的重用与信任,就常常得罪同事,同事们也常常误解他。我有时就常常劝他,做事情嘛,点到为止就好,有时我们做人不一定要是赢的那一位。他一直都无法体会和了解我跟他说的这番话,总觉得,我真的能这么cool的过生活吗?

后来,在工作上,他与上司和一些领导人发生了一些大问题,还开了个调解会议。我自己也在那会议里。经过了这些事后,他才领悟到了我一直跟他说的话。最近还非常感激我教会了他很多处事待人的道理。

其实嘛,我也不是什么达人,只是人生中经历不少事情也让我领悟到了一些小道理。如果我没有经历过我所经历过的事情,我也没有可能是现在的我。我现在对生活的要求简单得多了。我不需要 Marie Kondo 来教我要丢弃什么什么的。其实,过人生就是那么的简单。该来都会,该去的都会去。命里有时终须有,命里无时莫强求。我们都不是什么大人物。只要好好把基本做好来,让自己开心一点,给自己和心爱的人多一点欢乐,那就好咯!

好吧!再一次祝愿大家在新的一年里,天官赐福,欢欢喜喜,开开心心!

阿福

Its all about relationship

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I recently chanced upon a video clip from Youtube and that kept me thinking for a while. The video is about a university lecturer addressing his students. It was a science lecture and he was telling them that the basis of everything, or to be more specific the basis of life is relationship. Everything on this planet earth is all about relationship; one thing links to another. The mysterious thing about life is how all these things are interconnected and how, to a large extend, can’t do without each other. He explained that when God created the universe, He first created the physical elements that support life, such as light and heat, water and the air. These elements are then interconnected and eventually giving breath to other life-forms, such as plants, vegetations, living creatures and finally humans. After He created man, He found that it is not good for him to be alone, therefore He created a companion for him, the woman. There, humans are again interconnected through various kinds of relationships. When the man and woman fell from grace, this first relationship and the whole interconnectedness of things in the world changed.

Although shared from a biblical perspective, I find this whole idea of interconnectedness very mesmerising. The fact is we are more connected than we are divided. We need each other more than the fact that we are separated. And perhaps, we are more similar than the differences we thought we have.

Some years ago, I went through a very dark period of my life and I decided to cut myself off from the people around me. I did not physically isolate myself from them, but what I was going through greatly affected my relationships with them. I felt disconnected and life was very miserable. I went away for a period of time and started traveling from Thailand to Vietnam, Malaysia and eventually to Bhutan. In Bhutan, I found a very different kind of connection. I was connected back to nature, back to the mountains and back to the valleys. I was connected back to the living streams that gave life to the trees in the forests and the creatures that inhabit the ground.

In Bhutan, I was surrounded everyday by the Himalayan mountains and everyday I walked through the woods and passed through the rivers and streams. Each step I took and each breath I breathed in, I was making renewed connection with creations and rediscovering the lost connection. It was when I reconnected myself with nature’s energy, I realised how small and tiny I was in all of these networks of life; this vast interconnectedness that we are all living in. My Bhutanese guide often told me that Bhutanese do not see themselves as superior to nature, neither do they see themselves as inferior. They see themselves as all part of nature: the trees in the forests, the rocks in the field, the fish in the streams,  the creatures roaming in the woods and the humans that inhabit the ground, all are part of this whole networks of life and breath. We all breathe in the same breath and received heat from the same Sun and enjoy the coolness of the same moon.

When I came back from my retreat in Bhutan, the first thing I wanted to do was to restore my relationships with my family and friends. With the renewed relationships, I set to make things in order, set the wrong right all over again and slowly build up my strength to face the challenges of life all over again. We never have to live in defeat and despondence if we understand how interconnected we are and how we can draw strength from one another.

Chang, from Bangkok

Nature’s Embrace – å›žå¿†ç”Ÿæ´»

  

人是由大地所生!当我们拥抱大地,从回大自然的怀里,那里就有一种很奇妙的医治和抚慰!Man is born of the earth! When we return to the embrace and bosom of nature, there is healing and comfort unspeakable. 我现在就在大地的怀抱中被抚慰着!I am now enjoying the embrace of nature and allowing myself to be comforted!

Cafe Hopper Review: Froth @ Middle Road

I was drawn to this cafe by its famous coffee jelly. Read a fair bit about it and was thinking of going there to try it out. I have tried the expresso ice cube in Bangkok and so thought this coffee jelly thing should be quite exciting. Froth cafe is located in Big Hotel along Middle Road. Its not that difficult to locate the hotel and perhaps I should have a staycation in the hotel soon.

I asked for recommendation and the staff did. I ordered the Tom Yum seafood risotto, the spicy winglets and of course the coffee jelly. The coffee jelly thing was really a plus point to this cafe. I have not heard of anything like this so far in Singapore or Bangkok. It basically coffee jelly mixed with fresh milk. Before drinking, you should break the jelly at the bottom of the glass and mix it well with the milk. However, as I feedback to the barista, I would actually prefer the coffee taste to be stronger. I couldn’t taste too much of the coffee and as such I felt like I was drinking some milk tea with pearls. The seafood risotto was served with prawns and shells and to be honest I am not a great fan of shell stuff. The good thing is that the Tom Yum taste was strong enough to cover the shell stuff in the dish. I love the tom yum taste to be honest, however, the rest of the ingredients in the dish didn’t quite impress me.

As for the spicy winglets, that’s the saving grace for the visit to Froth. I love the texture of the dish and the chicken was tender and juicy. The juicy chicken was sprinkled with smashed nachos and some shallots as well. Love this combination and truly a good snack for the afternoon.

Overall, my experience with the cafe was a good one. The cafe has a lot of potential given more time to fine tune its menu. They have a lot of fresh food idea and I am sure they will do all the necessary adjustments to make things better. I am looking forward to see Froth grow in maturity as a cafe. Good luck!

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Cafe Hopper Review: Banana Tree @ Keong Siak Street

I went to Keong Siak street specially to visit this Banana Tree cafe, another Korean style cafe serving Korean bingsu. I was so intrigued by their flower pot decorative of their dessert. Not difficult to locate this shop that just started operating about a month or so. I took a cab to Bukit Pasoh and this I was really out of cash by the time I entered Banana Tree. After I have decided on my order, I was told that they don’t take cashless payment. I wasn’t feeling that lousy but I knew that the nearest ATM from Keong Siak is pretty far and the weather was really hot. I guess I had no choice but to walk down the street to hit an ATM. Just when I was packing my bag and getting ready to leave, the beautiful lady boss asked if I work around this area? I said I don’t but I frequent this place. She suggested that I should stay and have my order and come back another day to pay for it. I was feeling rather comfortable with that but the lady boss insisted seeing the hot weather. I took the offer and I really enjoyed my dessert very much.

After I walked out of the place, the first thing I did was to get my cash and pay for what I owe. I was touched by the lady’s trust in me even though I was just a customer. I would certainly want to come back for the bigger pot of flower when I have people to accompany me. Good luck to your new and exciting venture!

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Cafe Hopper Review: Cafe Insadong @ South Bridge Road

First the location map shown on Instagram indicated a wrong place. Instagram map shows the cafe to be on Smith Street in Chinatown and there was not Cafe Insadong there. I decided to take a look across South Bridge Road and lo and behold, the cafe was there. I was so glad that I found it as the weather outside was extremely hard to bear. Temperature was easily 33 or 34 degree Celsius that day. When I stepped in the cafe, I was greeted by one of the staff of the cafe and I feedback to her that the map on Instagram is wrong about their location. She seemed very serious about it and expressed that she would update the info which to be honest I didn’t quite know how that is done.

In any case, stepping into the cafe was already making me feel great as the weather out there was really very hot. I asked for a recommendation as I was really clueless what I should order and it was my first time visiting a Korean-style cafe. I actually found the price a little on a high side for their menu. I ordered the Beef Bugolgi Toast for a light lunch and the Red bean and sweet potatoes for dessert. Both items each falls within the range of $7 to $9. I do find that for a toast or ice dessert to cost around this range ….its a little too pricey. I can easily get a local ice kacang for just less than $3.

I was particularly fond of the beef bugolgi toast as I always wanted to do something with toast and kimchi and I must say they did pretty okay with their combination. I  messaged a group of friends that I was in this shop and one of the foodie friends replied me and said that she doesn’t really like their ice dessert. Well, I tend to disagree with her because you really can’t be too wrong with sweet stuff. But like I said, for this kind of price, I can get two ice kacang when I crossed over to Chinatown Hawker Center. One thing for sure, the korean-style ice kacang did help to beat the heat outside for me.

I guess, its still pretty worth coming here and enjoy the dessert after a tiring shopping at Chinatown…

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Cafe Hopper Review: Mad About Sucre @ Bukit Pasoh (Teo Hong Road)

It was my laze around day and I wanted to laze to a nearby cafe in the same area. However, the cafe that I intended to go had a private function, so I decided to hop to this one which I missed the other day when I was here for staycation. From the time I stepped into the cafe till the moment I left the cafe, I must say that I was very pampered by the staff of the cafe. I stepped in and was greeted by the staff. I was not allowed to order anything until the staff had finished explaining to me all their products on the classy glass display. It was very boutique indeed. They had a few dessert on display and the staff took a lot of pride and most importantly, a lot of heart to introduce all of them to me before I decided on one.

I was ushered to my seat and was made very comfortable there. When my dessert arrived, the staff once again explained in greater details about the making of the dessert and how I should go about consuming it. From his narration of the dessert I ordered, I came to know that this little piece of thing have ingredients from more than 3 different continents and countries. After all the narrative, I finally get to savour my precious dessert served by staff with so much heart and soul in them. With all the narrative still at the back of my mind and my tongue physically tasting it, I must say that the experience was heavenly. The chocolate was smooth and the fill inside this little thing is wholesome and and not overwhelming.

Throughout my stay in the cafe, the staff would regularly, at a very comfortable pace, check on my well-being and asked if I am alright with everything. The attention that I received from them was superb and I felt almost like a celebrity. After I have posted my food picture on my Instagram, they replied to my IG and they actually remembered that I came and remembered that I was writing my poem then and they actually refrained from disturbing too much. I was extremely touched by their service…or I should say more than service to me. They have made dining at Mad About Sucre an art by itself….They are inspirational!

Thank you guys for your hospitality…

 
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Cafe Hopper Reflecting on our Founding Father

I thought as a fellow Singaporean, a son of the roaring lion and a son of Singapore, its time for me to say a few things regarding the recent passing away of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I received the news of his passing away shortly after the official hour of 3:18am on 23 March 2015. My own brother, the Gun Carriage Commander (GCC), messaged us and informing us that he was activated for his duty. This is his fifth time being the GCC. He was the GCC for Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Goh Kheng Swee, Mr Toh Chin Chye and some of the other founding pioneers. As a family, we are very proud of him and we are so thankful that he can represent us to send Mr Lee off for the very last time.

Well, that is not my point for this blog entry, lest my proudness overtakes my mind. I have never met Mr Lee personally in my entire life and I am very sure that he doesn’t know me at all as a Singaporean. For a man who is so far away from me, upon hearing his passing away, suddenly I felt a sense of closeness and attachment to him. I couldn’t help but shed a few tears of sadness. It felt as though someone dear to me has just passed away. To a man who I have never met or spoken to, and yet, like an invisible pair of hands, he guided and led me to where I am today. Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. He gave me a decent education and an equal opportunity to fight for a living for myself. Through his education policies and beliefs, like many sons and daughters of Singapore, we are able to stand tall on international platforms, speaking duo languages and well-respected by international counterparts. We are certainly no small figure when we stand on this global stage. Through his housing policies, I have seen my parents and eventually myself staying in a better house that we can call Home. I grew up in a one room flat (one living room, one bedroom, one kitchen and one toilet) first in Kallang Bahru and then in Ang Mio Kio. I remember then, my mum, my sister, my brother and myself had to squeeze in one small bedroom. My father would sleep in the living room. We had lots of fun squeezing together and we had very little concept of personal space or privacy for that matter. Some years later, my parents managed to shift us from this one room flat to a four room flat in Yishun. For the first time in our lives, we had a room to ourselves although I was still having to share room with my brother. We had a bigger space and yes, we began to have the concept of personal space and privacy.

Soon my brother and sister got married and they each have their own unit. My mum and I bought a new unit in Woodlands ourselves.  All these didn’t come easy for me or for my family. We worked hard and we always seek to make living better for the family. But, all these are made possible because of what Mr Lee has done as a Prime Minister then. Although we didn’t come from a rich and famous family, we never felt under-privileged throughout our growing up years. We enjoyed the same opportunity like any other sons and daughters of Singapore and worked our way up the social ladder. As a leader and father of the nation, Mr Lee had kept his promises to the people. He promised equal opportunity for all and we had it. He promised a roof above our heads and we had it. He promised a world-class education system and a good job opportunity for all and we had it.  He promised to make us a metropolis and we did it. He promised to make every Singaporean proud and we are indeed.

To this man, this man of greatness, I am full of gratitude and still gratitude. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is more than just a political leader to us. He is a mentor, a greater elder of the nation and a father. To steal from Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s eulogy yesterday, we share the same father, father of this nation. Thank you for sharing your Papa with us…thank you for making him our father too. I cannot imagine what our history would be like without Papa Lee turning himself to PM Lee. Singaporeans would be orphans…fatherless…hopeless. He is certainly not a perfect man, not without fault. However, as a political leader and as our founding father, he has done all that he could to give us a successful Singapore.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew for making us proud! Thank you for giving us Singapore.

Farewell!

#leekuanyew #rememberingleekuanyew #tributetoleekuanyew thankyouleekuanyew

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