Saturday, January 31, 2009

May Your Year Be Filled With Abundance

I had been eyeing this range of circle flap handbags for quite a while now. They remind me of fish scales but round, and I just couldn't decide if I wanted a red one which is the kind of handbag I like, a black classic one which would be practical or a mustard one to replace my last mustard-coloured handbag, a colour which is hard to come by in a nice handbag. Decisions, decisions, it was just too hard to pick one, so I put it off and held off getting one of these bags.

So today when I chanced upon a garage sale in the neighbourhood and a similar bag except it was flap handbag shaped like a fish, in very soft PVC, I knew this was it. Quirky! The girl wanted $15, I offered $10 and we agreed on $12.

It got me thinking this was a purchase apt for the Lunar New Year. "Nian nian you yu" that is the traditional Chinese New Year saying - may your year be filled with abundance. Now that is just what we need in these current times ...

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Coffee, Tea Or Just Me?

Maybe it was the Gallery tearoom/cafe plan brewing or at least gently simmering at the backburner of my mind, that caused this short 4-day work week to be one long, dragged out, mind-numbing, soul-sapping period of time that I couldn't wait for to end...

Work is getting harder to bear. The contents of the work is still the same boring, technical, dry stuff that only by the tight and controlled exercise of sheer mind over matter that I manage to tolerate. I think I shall rate my biggest strength to be "versatility" should I get asked at the next interview. I don't have to like it to be able to do it. I just pray for the patience of Job to see it through cos on the basis of the pay cheque, it's plainly not going to be enough motivation. Everyone says do it for the money. It's such a clique, true enough but there comes a time where that will be overridden by other factors. Like when your mind gets numbed and your soul gets sapped. And that's when you need to turn yourself towards things like tea and coffee... for a little soul nourishment before everything gets drained out and you are left with a brittle shell (and a healthy bank account).

The irony.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


The Freeland Gallery family had a reunion last night. It was Chinese New Year eve, the most important night for Chinese families to have dinner, akin to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners where everyone reunites around the dining table.

This year, the first CNY dinner which I am not eating with my immediate family, apart from my newly-acquired husband, G, I decided the next best thing was to have it with the Freeland Gallery family and so we did.

And we had a lively dinner, culminating in a healthy discussion about a new potential business initiative which we can all participate in, leveraging off the Gallery, and possibly boosting the Gallery's viability in these difficult times. I like to think that the feeling of hope for the future and the commitment we all will put into this potential initiative will enable the Gallery to stay afloat.

Additional bonus for G and I came in the form of belated wedding presents from John and Masako, who had missed the wedding as they were coincidentally but separately, just returning to Sydney on 10 Jan. John presented us with a pair of teal tea cup trio by Nell McCredie, NSW, the photo just doesn't do this pair justice. The lovely greenish-blue hue tinged with a faint pinkish-brown is exquisite and I love them the minute I set eyes on them. Masako's gift of a pair of lacquer Japanese soup bowls and chopsticks were exactly what we needed. We realised we didn't have any soup bowls for this dinner and this pair in striking red and black is just the ticket. Except we will need to grow this family of lacquer soup bowls.

Friends, family, friends-family... random people we meet in the journey of life, from strangers to friends to much much more...

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

CNY Reunion Dinner: Prep Work

I have ambitious CNY Reunion dinner plans. It initially started with only cooking dinner for 4 which is entirely within control, then I found out that M has returned from Japan with her family and we HAD to invite her and her hubby as well as that would reunite the entire Freeland Gallery family for this dinner. And what is a reunion dinner if we don't reunite the whole family? So 4 became 6. Still not out of control I guess, but a wee bit more challenging. Throw in my idea of cooking cereal prawns which I have never done before, and it gets a bit more complicated. But I have faith in the recipes I've researched on the internet, they all seem fairly straight forward, almost simple, but hey, I don't want to jinx it.

So today after a trek under blazing 40C sun looking at apartments, we decided we should do the marketing as well. The hot air reminds me of a desert wind, perhaps it has come from up north where there is nothing but sand. It was on the verge of unbearable being out in the open, any shade is good. Air conditioning is better. But we persevered. We bought the veggies, a red snapper, 1 kg of tiger prawns, 750g of char siew and roast pork (OMG, this shop does it so well, the roast pork is so lean and crispy it's almost to die for), mushroom-fish tofu and a can of longans (no almond tofu to go with though, need to check out another supermarket later).

My proposed menu:-

1. Miso soup with mushroom-fish tofu and shitake mushrooms
2. Steamed snapper Chinese style
3. Cereal prawns
4. Stir-fried Chinese chye sim
5. Char siew and roast pork
6. Dessert: CNY sticky cake (nian gao) with dessicated coconut; and longans and almond tofu

Have to run to the shops later to get some bottles of white wine, almond tofu and some fresh flowers and we are ready to roll.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Waltzing Matilda

3 months of research (internet, consulting people with past experience, talking to official helpline), consolidating information, filling up a myriad of forms and coughing up a whole lot of money (will be around A$3,000 at the end of the day), I finally lodged my PR application today. A great relief even though there are some loose ends that need to be tied up, by way of MORE documentation including a medical check up for G. But we will get there - soon.

Sometimes I wonder if it were a sign of things to come when I recollect old childhood memories, of me at age 4 or 5 and mum teaching me "Waltzing Matilda". Why would a mother in Singapore teach her young child such a typically Aussie song? Why not "Di Tanjong Katong" or "The More We Get Together" or some other typical Singaporean folk songs more suitable for a kid growing up in tropical Singapore, rather than singing about jolly swagmen and billabongs? I guess mum studied in Melbourne in the 60s and liked and remembered this popular tune and saved that in her repertoire of folk songs to teach her kids. And I still remember those strange, unfamiliar words so clearly.

But the irony...


Friday, January 16, 2009


An 18-month romance which started the contemporary way befitting this time and age - on the internet. Virtual world quickly transcended into the real world.

The result: wedding held on 10 January 2009, with friends and family from New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia overwhelming us with their love, support and well wishes.

Now with the wedding out of the way, (enjoyable as it was on the actual day itself, stressful on the lead-up to it with preparations in a relatively short period of time) we can now get on with the marriage!

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Sunday, January 04, 2009


My slight obsession with ceramics continues. It has been some time since I last bought any. So when MIL (to soon be) brought me to Foragers, a treasure trove of vintage and retro stuff, in Christchurch, I was in heaven. So much so that I made a repeat trip there an hour after I left since the first trip was a hasty one. One needs to take one's time in such a shop, to slowly savour the offerings, touch every item, turn them round and round, look at things from different angles. Then make one's decision as to what to buy.

And so on the repeat trip to Foragers, I slowly fingered everything which caught my eye. I didn't spend very much because the items that I bought were going for a song. I bought 3 saucers, the red-rimmed one on the top left, the floral one on the top right and the green-rimmed one on the bottom right. I think they might match the partnerless teacups I have accumulated along the way. Lovely saucers - 50 cents each. Finding treasures going for a song - priceless.

The other 3 plates? Even cheaper. I picked them up at our lobby, a neighbour must have been moving out and so left several boxes of crockery. I picked the 3 I liked best and left a whole bunch for other treasure-hunters.

I love these little plates, every single one tells a different story.

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