I have put on weight recently. Lack of time to exercise has ballooned my usual 56 kg to 59kg! That was what I gained in the last 6 months. My pants are tight, my jean are super stretched and the bulges of fat around my waist...Oh its awful. My upper arms are so big I'm now conscious of wearing sleeveless tops and ending up wearing cardigans with them. I know I should do something about it. I have always been an exercise fan. I like walking or running outdoors as it clears my mind and I love listening to my favourite hits as I hit the roads.
Recently, I just don't seem to find the time. I have so many things on my plate right now. Sometimes, I wonder how the top people in organisations still stay in shape. I have tried cutting down calories. I reduced my rice to two small spoons per meal and when that didn't work I changed rice to Basmati Rice because it has low GI and it doesn't make me feel so full. Its lighter on the tummy. I start off the day with 2 tbsps of Apple Cider Vinegar (oh its awful!) with warm water because I read somewhere that it helps in keeping your belly in check.
So, with all those changes I should have at least lost 1 kg? Nope, I'm still hovering around 59kg. My friends and family say I look the same. But when I see myself in the mirror, I don't like what I see. So, I started running last Sunday. Jogged all around Temasek JC, passing by Kew Crescent, then Temasek Sec School and back to my home. IT was only 4km not a long distance. I took 45 mins!! See what has happened to my stamina?
Anyway, I came home, did the usual cooking, laundry etc but by evening, out of the blue, sharp sudden pains started shooting from my lower back to the front near my groin. It was debilitating, I couldn't even get up from the sofa. I took painkillers and tried to sleep it off hoping that it wold go away by next morning.
The next morning Monday 17th Sep, I woke up slowly. The pain was numb but it got bad as the day grew on. After my girls left for school, I sent out a long message to my Book Club members that I couldn't attend the meeting that morning. We are a nice cosy close group and we meet once a month on a Monday morning in a cafe nearby. The moment I sent out that message, a few surprises followed. They immediately postponed the meeting to next Monday (10am Coffeesmith Bedok Mall) citing that the book club meeting will not be the same without my warm lovely presence( so sweet of them)!! Then, Angie immediately started another chat group to see who is available to come and visit me. Two of them came over - Angie and Anu to see me at my house! Anu brought dosa, chutney and podi in case I couldn't make breakfast ! Then, Angie drove me to my GP Raffles Medical at Siglap Centre.
I felt so blessed that just because I had back pains, two friends came over to see me. Riya looked at me said, 'Mama, you can never say again that you don't have close friends. You had back pain and immediately two friends dropped everything and came to see you! I doubt my friends would ever do that for me !!'
Then, it dawned on me, Yes I do have some nice close friends....I'm so blessed. Having friends who drop everything to come and see you when you are ill, one must be really lucky. I always thought I had a lot of casual friends and was devoid of close friends. God has shown me otherwise. Thank you ladies. You really made my day😘
We are in desperate need of donors. There are so many needy families who just need a little help with their groceries every month. Just the basics - rice, oil, Milo, cookies etc. Its not a lot for us - $50 every month. Like a fellow HEN member said, when we step out, we spend in hundreds! $50 every month is peanuts for many of us. So, if you can help or you know someone who can part with their $50 monthly, please contact me at email@example.com
Every month, you would need to prepare 2 Redmart boxes with dry groceries (we will give you a recommended list) and seal (see pic above). Sometimes, you can add toys or storybooks in the boxes for the children in the families. Then, get the boxes delivered to a collection point in the East or Central Singapore. Our drivers will pick them up the next week and deliver to the families you are supporting.
Its not too much on your part, money or time wise and its a great way to get the kids involved in community work. Its a small difference we make in the lives of the families.
I have been so so busy and sometimes so heavily exhausted that even sleep doesn't come to me. My mind was so overactive especially the last few nights of last week when I conducted an important HEN meeting on Friday morning at NMS. I was so stressed out that a migrane sprouted out of nowhere on Friday afternoon and continued all the way till now, Monday.
Just wanted to post a blog to say that no matter how busy I get, my close friends are never far from my mind. So, my dear friend, if I haven't met up with you or spoken to you at our usual times, please don't get thwarted. You will always be there in my mind, no matter what. How can I ever forget you? You hv been in my life so long I feel like you are in my blood and coursing through my veins every second of every day. Ok that's a little dramatic :) but seriously you are just way too important to ever be forgotten.
Who is Akhira? She is a 6 year old girl whom I had the privilege of being introduced to over the last 1 month. Akhira is not her real name. The Singapore government ensures strict confidentiality regarding the families receiving assistance from them. I only know the mother's name. So for the purpose of this blog post, let's call this little girl Akhira.
I first knew about Akhira when I attended a meeting at a Voluntary Welfare Organisation 4PM in Bedok Reservoir in July. A few of us from HEN Charity were there to introduce ourselves and our programmes. You know, I have been to many Family Service Centres and have had numerous meetings, but it was only in 4PM that we were offered cold drinks and brownies. Brownies, mind you. An example of true warm Malay hospitality :). During our conversation, we asked if there are any specific families that are really in dire need of assistance. The principal thought for a while and spoke about Akhira. That was when I got to know about her. That her parents were not working (they are actively looking for employment) and couldn't even afford the bus fare to send her to child care at 4PM. That there were elderly grandparents in her family as well. That she was the only child and was due to start Primary 1 next year.
Now, I had received $150 from a fellow French docent and donor who had moved back to France in June. With the 3 months pilot programme helping the families in Bedok coming to an end in Aug, I was wondering how can I use this cash in a worthy charitable manner. So, when the Principal mentioned Akhira, I decided to help her family for the next 3 months ie Aug, Sep and Oct. Last Friday 31st Aug I popped over to her house located in the eastern part of Singapore to hand over the food donation boxes to her family.
Having seen the interior of many rental flats of low income families, I wasn't very shocked at her housing situation. But I did have a chance to see Akhira for the very first time. A fun loving cute girl who was smiling a lot. I was glad the circumstances of her family hadn't affected her. But, something stopped me in my tracks when I left the entrance of her flat, after handing over the boxes to her father. Akhira was curious and excited to see what was in the food donation boxes. Her father was telling her to be patient. As all children her age, she couldn't wait and started throwing tantrums. And when I heard her speaking, i was taken aback when she sounded like a 3 or 4 year old.
Could she have slow development because of inadequate exposure to educational opportunities ? I felt a pang in my heart. Here is a young girl, her whole life waiting to unfold before her and she may not be able to fully grasp the opportunities because of her family's situation. She will be starting Primary 1 next year. She will definitely not be ready and her peers will already be be able to read. Does she even know basic phonics? What about Maths? Does she know addition and subtraction? I started wondering whether I could help her in any way. Something was telling me to reach out to her. It still is.
I take buses a lot. And I mean A LOT. The places I have to visit for my HEN charity meetings or my museum docent trainings are located mostly in the city center. Hence, to avoid huge taxi expenses, I take buses. I used to hate taking buses because the journey time was just too long. But I have now grown to love bus rides quite a bit.
I plan ahead so as to ensure I'm not late for my destination. You see, I'm a stickler for punctuality. I keep on drilling into my girls about being punctual. It is a virtue, don't you agree? It shows how serious you are about that meeting and how important that person you are about to meet is to you. So, anyway I use apps to ensure there is adequate time for me to reach the bus stop on time and that I don't wait too long practically melting in the sweltering heat of Singapore. Can you imagine if your makeup is ruined with your perspiration even before the day starts?
Though so very long, I have grown to enjoy the bus rides. Why? Firstly I like that I don't have to make small talk with the bus driver like I have to when I take a cab. You can't avoid talking to the cab drivers when they strike up a conversation. Then, through the long winding roads of Singapore, I weave through and get to see places I haven't seen for a while. Just the other day, I had a meeting in Ang Mo Kio, north of the island. To my utter surprise, I found out I have a straight bus 55 to my destination in Ang Mo Kio. It was a long ride, no doubt but I ended up seeing Jalan Eunos, Upper Serangoon and eventually Ang Mo Kio housing estate. Then, on another day, I got to visit my old neighbourhoods in Pasir Ris where my girls were born before we moved to my present home. I get a great view from the uper deck of most of the buses I take. See the pictures I took today.
What do I enjoy most? Plugging in my headphones and listening to my fav hits of my Apple Playlist. As I type this on my way to NMS for an appointment on Bus 14, I am now listening to an old melody You've Got A Way by Shania Twain. I also love Could I Have This Kiss Forever by Whitney Houston, More than Words by Extreme, Love Will Keep Us Alive by Eagles and also some recent pop hits Not above Love by Aluna George, Be The One by Dua Lipa, Sweet Ophelia by Zeila Day, the latter all courtesy of my two teenage girls. Sometimes, I engage in my other love, reading.
I am currently reading This is What Inequality Looks Like, a collection of essays by Teo You Yenn a NUS sociologist who did indepth research on the less fortunate families in Singapore. I could relate so much to what she was talking about being a Singaporean and also having had first hand experience helping these families. Please do read this very insightful book.
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...