Time Together

Shyan and I have been busy the last few months, despite not updating our blog. We stole some time late November, spending four nights in Krabi after attending a good friend’s wedding dinner in Bangkok. The dinner was amazing, we were blessed with cool weather and were at the top floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok. The venue, atmosphere, guests, meal and weather fitted my fun loving friends Yen and Steve to a T!

20131124_181610sky view at dinner, doesn’t look like Bangkok huh?

It was our first time in Krabi and we booked everything on line, so we were not sure what to expect. On arrival, one sees that the small airport is well organised, with transport to the resort we booked easily arranged. However, the taxi fare of 600 baht is more expensive than a trip from the airport to town in Bangkok, which averages around 400 baht. Anyhow, since we were on holiday, I tried not to think too much about the money spent…We arrived at the Krabi Orchid Resort and was happy with the location. It’s just a few seconds walk to the main road, which stretches with restaurants and shops on both sides. Our first experience though was not pleasant – the hotel made a mistake on a tour we booked and I had to ask to see the manager to get things resolved. The bell boy was rude, and showed us attitude. Not a good start to the trip but Shyan and I decided not to let this dampen our spirits!

We took things slow the first day, and decided to spend time at the hotel’s pool, which was nice enough. The view isn’t bad with a mountain as backdrop, and the pool is designed for resorts, with a bridge to a central platform, and fountain like fixture. The chairs were not well maintained and I could not relax seated as was afraid I’ll fall over!

20131126_171823view from the pool

We booked ourselves on a 4-island hop tour the next day and were blessed with good, sunny weather. The walk between Tub and Mor Islands was quite amazing, at low tide, we actually could walk across from one island to the other, like walking on water. The water is still unspoilt and clear and we spotted a few sea urchins as we trod across the islands, it was fun. It had been a long time since I am out at sea and under the sun which I enjoy, so it was extra special to do this trip.

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We passed by Chicken Island, see photo and no explanation needed. Normally, we would have snorkeled around the island but the current was strong that day so we missed that. Where we were brought to was shallow and had only angel fish to see, so that was a little of a let down. We then headed to Phra Nang Beach and Cave. It was crowded and noisy, and we were not allowed into the cave itself. Would have been nice to get to explore.

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Unfortunately, the rest of our stay in Krabi was rained out, so we spent the next day in and around the resort. Not ones to give up easily, we decided that we would get out the next day, come rain or shine. It rained ūüė¶ but we went ahead with our plans for elephant trekking anyway. We were first brought to the emerald pool, which is a small pool with clear, cool water. What we remembered more was the muddy road we had to trod out on because of the rain and by the time we got to the van, we were both cold and wet. Thankfully, I had the foresight to bring some towels so we at least could dry up. But this means we were not able to visit the waterfall hot spring which was the next stop, oh well, something to do if and when we do visit again. We got to sit on elephants and the poor things had to walk through thick muddy roads on our behalf. There was really not much to see, with or without the rain, and we have done more interesting treks in Phuket before.

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Regardless of the service at the resort or unfavourable weather or not too interesting tours, I am glad to have this time with my daughter. She grows up so fast, and I am thankful we still have common interests and are happy to spend time together. I look forward to our next adventure together!

BE MERRY

I know, it’s been months since we last posted…mainly because we are still getting used to sharing our lives in the public eye. But hey, since we did start this blog, decided that we should continue as a journal for my daughter and I.

So, Christmas is already over, how did you spend yours? This is our 2nd Christmas back home, so we had a family gathering again at my home, and sumptuous food! We ordered our meal from Soul Food Enterprise, a social enterprise located at Blk 78, Commonwealth Drive, #01-575 Singapore. This private kitchen is aptly named, as its menu is prepared with heart and passion. Soul Food trains and hires youths with special needs so it feels good that part of what we pay goes to a good cause. I have never liked turkey meat, finding it too dry and tasteless, until I ate Soul Food’s turkey. It’s juicy, flavourful, tender, everything that makes white meat delicious!

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The poached Salmon was a hit amongst my guests. I have never been a fish person but even I was tempted. Everyone said it was cooked to perfection, well seasoned, succulent.

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The pork ribs with BBQ sauce is mouth-watering and the mash smooth and light. The minestrone soup is loaded with vegetable goodness and the sherry truffle for dessert – YUM!

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Of course, we need to keep healthy so we had a supermarket bought salad to go along, so we had our greens.

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Beyond the food though, Christmas is about remembering the birth of our Saviour, that God loves us so that He gave us His son to eventually atone for our sins. It was a time to connect with families and be reminded of who and what should be important in our lives. I am grateful that the Lord blessed us with good food and great company on a special night. And may your year ahead be merry and joyful and meaningful all year round.

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Blessings, Kelly and Shyan

Comics Recently Pt. 1

With the recent slew of comic book inspired movies such as The Dark Knight Rises(I loved Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway in that!), Man of Steel(Which I think sucked and totally strayed from the comics), Wolverine and The Avengers, I started thinking a lot about superheroes, supervillains and the like a lot more, recently. I mean I HAVE always been interested. But they simply seem to be on my mind more often.

Now, since I’m in such a comic book-ish mood. (…I don’t think that even made sense… Oh well.) I’ve decided to list my top 10 superheroes and supervillians… MWA HA HA! …

Er. Never mind …

Let us start with the brave and courageous people(or Aliens or mutants or whatever they may be) who fight for all that is good and pure. The Heroes!

10. Voodoo (DC, WildC.A.T.s)

Surprisingly, not many people know about her. Voodoo, real name Priscilla Kitaen, has many powers, including Shape shifting, Super strength, Telepathy, the ability to manipulate time and quite a few more. An overall badass character, it’s no wonder she’s on my favourites list.

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9. Martian Manhunter (DC,  Justice League of America)

The martian, who’s real name is J’onn J’onzz (I know. Original right? -_-), is the last martian. Deciding to stay on earth, where he had been transported by one Dr. Saul Erdel, J’onn decided to take up the name ‘Manhunter’ and do what good he could, with Flight, Invisibility,¬†Invulnerability, Shape shifting, Telepathy and a whole bunch of otherworldly powers, he does pretty well in the crime fighting category. Although, his people skills could use some improvement…

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8. Scarlett Witch (Marvel, X-Men/The Avengers)

Wanda Marya Maximof, the daughter of Max¬†Eisenhardt(Magneto), took up the mantle of Scarlett Witch to fight crime. (Kinda weird with a villain as a father…) Illusion casting, Levitation, Necromancy and Magic allow her to defeat opponents with ease. (Seriously though, how does she have so many powers?!)

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7. Raven (DC, Teen Titans)

Raven, Raven, Raven. Daughter of a demon, yet one of THE most EPIC crime fighters of all time. Blood control, Shadow manipulation, Shape shifting, Telepathy, the list of incredible powers just go on and on. She would be higher on the list, if not for the fact that I love the other characters more… :>

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6. Emma Frost (Marvel, X-Men)

Do I really even need to introduce this mutant? The former white queen of the Hellfire club, Emma is a powerful telepath who can transform herself into diamond. Raw, organic DIAMOND. If that’s not incredibly cool I don’t know what is…

5. Phoenix (Marvel, X-Men)

Probably the most powerful hero on my list, the only reason she’s this low is cause I’m not totally into her personality. I don’t know… Something about her personality really bugs me. And I’m not a fan of the Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle. She’s got a cool look though, I have to admit.

4. Black Canary (DC, Justice League of America/Birds of Prey)

Ok. I have to be honest here, I didn’t start loving Black Canary until a few years ago. But I’ve been in love with her character ever since I discovered her! I mean, even without her Canary Cry, she’s still considered one of the seven best fighters in the DC universe… Plus her attitude is something I enjoy. So she’s an overall kick-ass character…

3. Batman (DC, Justice League of America)

Does this Caped Crusader need any introduction?! The Dark Knight of Gotham, Bruce Wayne, is possibly one of the most iconic superheroes of all time! What I’ve always loved about him is the fact that, though he has no superpowers, he is still one of the most respected and talented heroes of all time. Trained in 127 different martial arts styles, he is deadly though completely human. His ability to change from a flirty playboy to serious detective is something I greatly respect. And he’s smart as hell so…

2. Psylocke (Marvel, X-Force/X-Men)

This Brit beauty has an amazing character design! Her powers, appearance and personality work out to make such a completely EPIC, BADASS and overall EXTRAORDINARY character. That’s all I can say really, I’m so in love with this character I’m pretty much lost for words.

1. Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson (DC, Teen Titans)

Ok ok ok. Now I know Dick isn’t a hero, but he’s been Robin, Nightwing AND Batman. And I couldn’t choose! That plus his amazing acrobatics skills, detective skills(HE WAS TRAINED BY THE BAT) and personality. I think he’s an all rounder who has an endless capability to keep improving.

Er.. I could’t seem to fit all my favourite heroes into a top ten so here’s a few that almost¬†made the list.

~Rogue

~Huntress

~Julia Carpenter

~Spider-Woman

And yep…. That’s about it.

Kelly: Man…I am so totally lost in this list. When did my daughter know so much about superheroes?!

Good Sandwich!

So, Shyan and I went to TCC at Vivo City yesterday and got some surprisingly good service and food. We were greeted with smiles and Moses who took our orders came with a sense of humour. Shyan was starving as she had not eaten lunch so she picked a simple Ham and Cheese sandwich with avocado. She was so hungry, she wolfed down one half of the sandwich before we took this pix! The bread was well toasted, and the ham/cheese/avocado mix gives it a slightly sweet taste which enhances the taste of the sandwich. And the portion is generous. I ordered my favourite the Lychee Freeze, which is refreshing. Uncommon in Singapore to find waiting staff who are friendly and chatty, which is what one gets at TCC at Vivo City. it was a pleasant experience and we will be sure to visit sometime soon.

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Camille Paglia: Miley, Go Back to School

Ha, as I was saying…

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‚ÄúDisgusting!‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúRaunchy!‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúDesperate!‚ÄĚ So went the scathing reviews that poured in after once wholesome Disney star Miley Cyrus‚Äô recent bizarre performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Bopping up and down the catwalk in hair-twist devil’s horns and a flesh-colored latex bikini, Cyrus lewdly wagged her tongue, tickled her crotch with a foam finger, shook her buttocks in the air and spanked a 6-ft. 7-in. black burlesque queen.

Most of the media backlash focused on Cyrus’ crass opportunism, which stole the show from Lady Gaga, normally no slouch in the foot-stamping look-at-me department. But the real scandal was how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms. She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.

How could American pop have gotten this bad? Sex has been a crucial component of the entertainment industry since the seductive vamps of silent film and the bawdy big…

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Justine Timberlake at MTV VMA 2013

Best performance of the show!

Yummy Ice Cream

Shyan loves ice cream. Which child doesn’t? So when I am on¬†one of my supermarket therapy trips, I look out for ice creams she may like. Shyan loves her¬†greens¬†and gets a healthy mix of protein from meat¬†and vitamins from fruits so I let her enjoy simple pleasures.

We discovered, while living in Hong Kong, this amazing South Korean brand Melona at a 7-11. The honeydew flavour is our favourite, and is creamy and tastes of real melon. It comes in Strawberry, Mango and Banana flavours too.

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Ice Creams can be very expensive! A tub can set you back over SGD10 depending on which brands you go for. While I make sure Shyan gets good quality food, highly priced may not necessarily mean best. In our ice cream adventure, we recently discovered that the taste of the Magnolia Vanilla ice cream is comparable if not better than some higher priced brands. At under SGD5 per 1.5 litre tub, it is economical and yet tastes of freshly creamed milk and is not too sweet. Good for a rootbeer float!

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For the more health conscious, we found the Weis sorbet, the mango flavour which is to die for. The lemon flavour is refreshing but can be a little tangy and sour for some.

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What’s with Pop Music These Days?

Call me old school, or maybe just plain old but a good pop song to me must have great melody and meaningful, poetic lyrics. I am no music critic, neither am I a ‘music expert’ but I have been listening to music as a consumer for many years and have a teenager immersed in current pop culture so I do question the state of pop music today. No wonder the industry laments the continual decline of music sales.

Tune into any pop radio station these days and you are likely to hear a track auto tuned to death, with meaningless chants and lyrics set out to shock, and weak vocals to boot. Song after song, you hear ‘new’ artist names, likely for the first and last time since there is no lack of ‘one hit wonders’ these days. What happened to artist development and long term careers?

The big news in recent days for music is of the MTV Video Music Awards. Have you seen the performances and star appearances? Lady Gaga stripped down to a seashell bikini at the end of her set and sat through the entire show in it; Miley Cyrus, her of the squeaky clean Hannah Montana fame from years past, stripped down to a yellow 2 piece to grind and bump with Robin Thicke on his summer hit ‘Blurred Lines’; a stick-thin Taylor Swift in a black gown with plunging neckline; and the list goes on. I am pretty open minded and involved as a parent, but I don’t want Shyan to treat any of these artists as role models. And it’s not like these stars do not have talents – say what you want but Taylor Swift writes melodic country/pop songs even if they are mostly about her relationships and breakups, and Miley Cyrus can hold a tune. And Gaga, when peeled to the core, can actually sing. But the likes of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus are known far more for the controversies they create than their musical talents. What a shame.

Don’t intend for this piece to be about what’s right or wrong with the music industry. As a music lover, and a parent, I just wish the people involved in the creation of music give us more than sexed up/violent lyrics and monotonous tunes. Consumption on music has grown exponentially in the last few years, and music can be in a big way an influence on its listeners, especially the younger generations. There are good talents out there, who unfortunately do not get the recognition they deserve because they may be too safe or mellow and simply not provocative enough for eyeballs and ears. I may share some favorites in future blogs but here is one talent who gives hope to the state of pop music, and with success. Justin Timberlake took a 7-year break from music and then released the best selling album in North America this year to date – 20/20 Experience, with Part 2 on its way. Check out the 15 plus-min medley on VMA and see how groovy tunes with cool lyrics still have their appeal in the pop world.

Oh Oh Technology!

So, lugged my laptop to the Toshiba Data Dynamics Service Centre at Kallang Sector today and received surprisingly good service, rare in Singapore! ¬†Arrived at just before 2pm so wait wasn’t long. Min at counter 2 was friendly and efficient (see prayers work!) and quickly identified a software problem that caused the corruption. Was then passed on to a young man Daniel Heng, who went out of his way to not just double and triple checked what is needed, he helped me do all the necessary backup to an external drive before I have to hand in the laptop. Thumbs up to Toshiba for well trained staff with the right attitude!

Update: In continuing with their good service, Min called me up this morning confirming nothing is wrong with the hard disc and that their technician is trying to help retrieve my Outlook files. The problem lies with the Windows Operating System which Toshiba can’t really help much with, but I am thankful for their quick action and revert. Well done!

Update 2: Took time to send Toshiba a compliment and below the email reply received almost immediately. Consumer brands take note – this is what keeps customers loyal. My next new laptop will be a Toshiba, regardless of whether it has the best machines in the market.

Dear Ms Chew,

Thank you for your generous compliments.

It was indeed our pleasure to serve you and we are really glad that you are happy with their service.

At Toshiba Data Dynamics, we always put our customer interest at heart and will seek out all possible ways to minimize inconveniences. We would also like to assure that you that Toshiba Data Dynamics would always strive to give our customer the best value in terms of service and support.

Warm Regards,

Jhun Nebria, Manager Technical, Mobile Computing Business Unit

Update 3: Shout out to Yong, the technician who helped recover data on Outlook, and who served with humour! Happy to have laptop back although not a 100% (was told Microsoft OS caused the problem and my original user data is totally blocked) but hey, at least my files are found. And yes, did all the necessary backup!

 

 

The Heart of Dance

Shyan developed the interest in dance, particularly ballet, quite late by conventional standard. She took maybe 2 terms of ballet classes when she was around 4, but she got so bored she was falling asleep in classes so I took her out. She didn’t get serious about dance until she was about 12, and that is old age by ballet standard. We started looking at a suitable ballet school and realized that most schools here placed importance on technique and because Shyan did not start when she was 3, we were told she can join casual, adult classes but not the ‘serious’ ballet class.

It was demoralizing and frustrating, but typical of the ‘best’ mentality of our system. That is until we came across Amy’s School of Dance and the Arts. Teacher Amy is the founder and principal, and she called quite immediately after I sent off an email enquiry. On the other end of the phone was a warm and friendly voice, and we were given a free trial so the teacher can judge Shyan’s suitability.¬†

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Teacher Amy and Shirlynn in one of the studios.

And thus began Shyan’s journey to learn ballet seriously. Both Teachers Amy and Shirlynn recognized Shyan’s aptitude and passion despite the lack of early foundation, and let Shyan join a Grade 5 class. I have always been the sort of mum to let Shyan learn something because of interest and passion so it did not matter to me which grade she was allocated to. Guess what though, Shyan took the Grade 5 Silver Star exam this past June and passed! The teachers belief and encouragement, and their patience in teaching allowed Shyan to gain enough confidence. What a difference the right heart makes!

I got to know Teacher Amy better in the last few months, and she believes in transforming children into confident individuals through the art of dance. So to parents out there – if you are looking for a dance school with HEART, and which believes in letting children explore and learn at the right pace, and not simply focus on academic (i.e. grades/exams) achievements, Amy’s School of Dance and the Arts is a great place for your children. Encourage our children to develop real interest in what they learn, and see them blossom into youths with grace.

http://www.amydancearts.com