Goodbye to the great Mr Lee Kwan Yew

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's been rather quiet on this space. For a reason -- Death. 

Death. It is feared by many and celebrated as much as life itself by others. Yet, it is a quintessential part of cultural life, not just a personal affair but a communal one. Just over the weekend, Singapore, a little red dot, mourned the death of one of its greatest leaders, the founding father of Singapore -- Mr Lee Kwan Yew,who passed away on 23rd March 2015 at the age of 91. There was much grieving and reflecting as people paid tribute to this great man. A 7-day national mourning was declared. While death is a topic largely avoided by most, Mr lee's death was the topic of the town. Everywhere on social media, his quotes, photos and stories were mushrooming. What really struck me was his tenacity towards life, his love towards his wife and his loyalty towards his people. Low crime rate and general orderliness in Singapore society would appear to bear testimony to the effectiveness of his rule. It was also the first time I read and saw pictures of the interior of his house and was appalled that despite being so wealthy, the decorations were so humble.

Above all, what really drew me to read on was his love and dedication towards his wife. I'm a hopeless romantic. However, the hubs isn't one who will quite reciprocate in the same way as I do. This is completely different in the royal love story where Mr Lee's love for his wife was evident in his daily life. He was a great husband who spent every evening, at least 2 hours, reading her favourite poems during her remaining days. Madam Kwa Geok Choo was more than just the woman behind LKY. She was a woman who silently gave her all to the nation and her family. Back then, she was the only female student in Raffles College in Singapore and crossed path with Mr Lee. They stated off as competitors but ended up as lovers. Classic isn't it? Kindof like how it was like for the hub and I. I hated his guts back then. Moving on, Mdm Kwa was a good Asian wife, walking two steps behind her husband. She was more than a wife, she was also Mr Lee's confidante and adviser. When she suffered her first stroke, Mr Lee took care of her complicated medication regime, measured her blood pressure several times a day, and meticulously picking up the food which she dropped. Mdm Kwa passed on after being bedridden for 2 years. That was Singapore's very own royal love story. While Mr Lee had been courageous and resolute in pursuing his dream and love, much has been credited to Mdm Kwa whose consistent rational and emotional support were his driving force. They are truly a model couple. Mr Lee might had  been critisized for his ways in politics. however, I'm sure it is without any argument that he was and still is a role model for husbands. With his demise, he can now be reunited with her in another realm.

29th March. It was the day the world sent Mr Lee on his last journey. Singaporeans lined the streets in salute as his casket went past the street. A grand funeral which no other man in Singapore ever had. That day, the heavens opened and rain was beating hard on this little red dot which Mr Lee played an instrumental role in building. The throbbing sadness was palpable. From dull, monotonous gray drizzle to fast and furious raindrops, the sky seemed to be making a tonal melody that matched the mood of many Singaporeans. His dedication for his country was evident in the respect garnered by the people who queued for as long as 8 hours just to enter the Parliament house to pay their last respects. Listening to his children deliver their eulogies, I too, shed an uncontrollable tear. I tried explaining to Big K about the passing of this great man. I told her Mr Lee is now watching us from above. And she replied,"He's in heaven?" I told her without this man, Singapore wouldn't be who she is today..We wouldn't have MRT to sit on or schools to go to. Then Big K continued," We wouldn't have playgrounds to go to and no house to stay." Wow! She seemed to understand what i said! A 3.5year old comprehending the impact that LKY made in our lives! I feel very blessed indeed that I'm born in this country I call home and am deeply thankful for this great man who built it. 

Thank you Mr Lee! #rememberingLKY

Gong xi fa cai

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I know. I'm late. hey, but i'm penning this down on the last day of Chinese New Year. Chup Gor Meh (15th day in Dialect) so technically, i'm not late right? Ok, excuses excuses. But definitely legit. You see, Small K developed a fever on Day 9. It spiked to 40 degrees celsius on Day 10! I was terribly guilty as I checked him at 730pm before putting him to bed. He was good. 37.4. But, 2 hours later when the hub came home and checked, the boy had shot up to 40!! We stripped him naked and sponged like mad. I didn't quite sleep that night. Waking up almost every hour to sponge him and check his temperature. Thankfully the fever subsided the  next day. However, on Day 12, a sudden rash surfaced. It was then i realised he was having Roseola. Roseola is a fairly mild and common viral illness that usually strikes children between 6 months and 3 years of age. It's caused by a kind of herpes virus, although not the type that's sexually transmitted. roseola usually starts with a sudden, relatively high fever. The fever typically lasts three to five days and may end abruptly, followed by the telltale rash. The rash may last for days or only hours. The rash is pink and may have small flat spots or raised bumps. These spots may have a lighter "halo" around them and will turn white if you press on them. The rash isn't itchy or uncomfortable, and contact with the rash itself doesn't spread the illness. It usually shows up on the trunk and neck, but can extend to the arms, legs, and face. My poor baby was a grouch and coupled with a whiny three year old, oh boy!!!

Anyhoots, here's a quick round up of Chinese New Year for us this year. It's special this year coz I've a new arm candy and I was really gearing myself up in terms of their clothings. 

The day before Chinese New Year.
Reunion outfit: 
On Me: Top from Love Bonito; Skorts from a Korean supplier
On Big K: "I'm a mini" tshirt from MiniRodini & Right Left tights from Hello Merch
On Small K: "daddy's little dude" romper from Carters & Socks from BabyStyleIcon
Day One
On Me: top and bottom from Zalora which incidentally has amazing service! I bought the wrong size and accidentally clicked on two for the same item but I was able to return them and exchange for the right size! No questions asked! I just had to pop by the post office and return. Postage borne by Zalora!; Shoes from Taobao
On Big K: Elmo Pillowcase dress from Etsy
On Small K: Dragon Romper from Taobao
Day Two. I decided to play matchy matchy. 
On Me: Top from Tracyeinny; Skinny Jeans which failed to make me skinny, from Uniqlo
On Big & Small K: Outfits from Elly. Shoes from Pediped and PUMA respectively. I've resisted on buying a cheongsam for Big K since birth. reason being, it's mostly worn only on special occasions. Mileage isn't too high. The cost of one isn't cheap too, but i caved in this year simply because it's too cute!
Check out the boy's new bib! Sud bo? It's one of his Chinese character by the way. Really hope this boy will be happy everyday. He's been bringing me so much joy every day. A very smiley baby whom I'm really thankful for. A miracle child who I can't wait to hug after work everyday. 

I just had to play matchy matchy again!
Tops and rompers from Hello Merch
Small K's dinosaur pants from Babystyleicon
Having two in tow this year is really different on all fronts. I used to be way ahead in decorations and crafting but this year, the above was all I did. A first DIY attempt at making paper pom poms and fans. Not bad eh? The decals were from Taobao. Bought it way in advance but pasted only the night before CNY! On crafting with Big K, I really did close to nothing. If you consider colouring an activity, then ok, I did heaps! 
Check out the many designs for red packets! The evolution is amazing. No wonder collecting red packets (sans the money that is), has been in vogue in the recent years.
Was excused for cooking on days one and two. but come day 3, I had to get something together lest the family starves. So the hubs and I decided on some unhealthy but delish noodles! A luxurious treat if I might add.  

Day 4
The kitchen was in full gear and I tried making Har Cheong Gai. Recipe taken off The Domestic Goddess Wannabe. I attempted to use the air fryer however, I failed miserably as the flour was still visible. Ultimately, I heated up some oil and shallow fried. The result, YUMMEH!

Day 5
Braised mushroom with dried oyster. A must-have in my family during Chinese New Year. This year, Empress Dowager made things difficult and decided not to cook reunion lunch, so we didn't have this. I decided to cook for my family instead. It's really a very simple dish to whip up. 

My recipe:
  • 12 Dried mushroom soaked for an hour (i soaked overnight though)
  • Moss (Fa Cai which is suppose to represent prosperity)
  • 4-5 dried oysters
  • 1 dried conch
  •  a few Smashed garlic  
  • Water/ Broth enough to cover the mushrooms
  • Seasonings:
  • 2 tablespoon of abalone sauce (oyster sauce also possible but i ran out of it)
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • if you want the colour to be darker, you may add dark soya sauce. But taste to ensure it's not too salty

  • fry the garlic till it's fragrant, then add the mushroom
  • after stir frying for a bit, add the abalone sauce
  • add broth/ water + conch and boil
  • transfer to a slow cooker and add the light soya sauce.
  • You may use the regular pot to cook if you are not cooking overnight in a slow cooker like I did.
  • This dish somehow tasted better overnight. 
  • Approximately half and hour to an hour before you serve, add in the moss. If you like, you may add cornstarch solution to thicken the gravy.

Lastly, we managed to have our annual brunch with the Mahjong Kahki. Ok technically, only a few of them play mahjong. I, for one, am not. I guess I'm so over with that game after spending nights after nights losing at the table during my University days instead of studying! Am feeling very blessed for this bunch of friends. Many who were from my Secondary school and some whom I've known for 2 decades! The longest standing one, however, has to be the hubs whom I've known (but was absolutely disgusted with back then) since Secondary two! It's really quite a sight when we have to take the annual group photo. Terribly difficult to coordinate this year with the kiddos running around! Soon to come, we probably should have a shot separate for the kids! And a table for them at lunch as well! Wow! this family sure is growing!

So how was your Chinese New Year? Hope it had been a Meh-ry one!