Happy Lunar New Year!

Even though I started 2017 wanting to write more, this has obviously not translated into real, tangible action to do so. A month has passed, and this is my second post in as many months. That said, January has been quite a whirlwind, even as usual, nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary transpired. I could not remember what took place in the intervening days, other than the Lunar New Year that came and went just a few days ago. Lunar, because someone on Facebook mentioned how it should not be called ‘Chinese New Year’ as the festival is observed by not just Chinese. The Koreans, Vietnamese too? and several other nationalities celebrate it as well so let us just call it Lunar New Year.

This year, the office held a department lunch the day before the eve, since eve fell on a Friday and it’s traditionally a half-day off for us. For the first time, the lo-hei was an official one. In the past years, I recalled that we had a lo-hei at one of the bosses’ home when we held a BBQ at her place. Then in another year, we got lunch catered in the office and the lo-hei was either provided as part of the catered package, or we got it from outside. Either ways, I guess it’s a new practice that comes with a new boss.

Lunch at the Silk Road was a pretty pricey affair since it’s a special set menu that we were ordering. I won’t comment on the food since I do not count myself a connoisseur of food to say if it is good or bad, but the service definitely was not up to par. The restaurant was crowded, which is understandable since everyone was having their office lunar new year lunches, but they should have already expected it based on the bookings made, yet they made no (does not seem like they did anyway) plans to ramp up their staff to handle what needed to be done. We were one of the first tables there but ended up receiving tardy service; the interval time between dishes were inconsistently timed and they actually missed out one dish entirely until we had to remind them of it. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the set we picked was the lowest as compared to the other tables who seemingly ordered the premium sets?

So anyway it is a ‘free’ lunch for me, and it kicked off with the prosperity yu-sheng, which used smoked salmon instead of the usual raw fish. Not too sure if this was due to the raw fish scare that took place last year. I am not a big fan of smoked salmon but this one was still ok since I only had a slice. I was more interested in the 黄金, the crispy crackers that were so fragrant while munching.

On the eve of Lunar New Year, it’s the usual steamboat reunion dinner. Same as last year, we had it at my brother’s place and the food seems to be much less than before. We just cannot eat as much as we used to because most of us, with the exception of my nephew, are well past the age where our metabolisms can support massive eating.
Just before the Lunar New Year, I was down with a bout of flu and was / am still recovering from having phlegm stuck in my throat. But that did not stop me from feasting and enjoying the new year goodies. Though I do not binge on pineapple tarts, loveletters, bak kwa and the lot, I can actually count the number of pieces I have so far, I really let go in indulging in roasted cashews, green pea cookies and arrowhead chips. These are my kryptonite during this festive season, and they are no less heaty and unhealthy as compared to the others. Oh well, it’s once a year so I should not be so hard on myself right? The 初三 popiah party that was held, kind of like an annual tradition of my family too, again had me indulging in so much unhealthy food. Instead of eating the star dish of popiah, I was snacking non-stop on what my brother cooked with his air-fryer, a housewarming gift he received last year. Haha. So we had things like fries, chicken karaage, and prawn roll!

To balance out all that fried food, our lo-hei was a healthier version though. Put together by my aunt, it’s mainly a ginormous plate of sliced fruits, topped with the sinful sweet sauce though, and of course the 黄金, which my brother added on a copious amount with Lay’s Potato Chips – talk about innovation.

So that is 2 rounds of 捞鱼生 so far. Time to start reining in the eating!

2017

Happy 2017. Although it’s already the third week of the new year.

Philippians 3:13-14 says:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In this brand new year, I should learn to look forward and not into the past; that whatever has passed is past and put them behind me. It is ok to reminisce but to live in past memories only serve to make us get stuck in a time warp, unable to progress forward.

Well, I don’t know if there is anything that I am hanging on or holding on to in the past that is rendering me unable to look forward or move forward, but I know that action is important. We can have the best-laid plans but if no action is taken then there will never be any breakthrough. I hope that this can be the year of change for me, in all aspects of the word, that I can persevere in making the kind of changes that I want to see in my life.

Being financially-bound by commitments, the biggest of which is the housing loan that I should stop harbouring resentment towards but be filled with gratitude and gladness that I now have a roof over my head and place to sort of call “my own”, add on the various other necessary payments such as taxes and insurance premiums the latter of which medical-related ones are on the uptrend, I may be constrained with pushing forward with my initial plans to action.

That said, I still want to believe that this is going to be the year of change. Changes can come in small steps, but I need to take one step forward to make things happen.

Food for (my) thoughts

Came across a website earlier on, and read some articles that could be useful for me. One of them talks about addiction to food, which more aptly, the article states, could be “eating addiction”. There’s even a slideshow that was created to discuss it, along with groups at risk, prevention and so on.

As I clicked on the various links that expounded further on the topic of binge eating (disorder), a lot about the behaviour and feelings described resonated with me. I wonder if it could also be a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy as I try to draw myself into the box of people who may fall under the diagnosis of BED.

Looking back on 2016, so many things have happened this year that has physically and mentally worn me out. I hope I have made good progress on some fronts in terms of breaking through on some thoughts and ideas that have ceaselessly spun themselves in a spiral within the small compound of my mind. In the coming new year, I also hope that there can be real tangible progress that will move me forward, even if it is just for an inch. It certainly beats staying in the same spot, pondering the next move but never making it.

Movie Review: Passengers

Yes, I am on a roll today. I feel like I’ve neglected this space for so long, and I really want to get back into writing, even if all that I write (willingly) is for leisure and self-consumption. If only this could generate some sort of revenue that can constitute a side income, that would be great and ideal. But then again we do not live in an ideal world and so that is something that I can dream and hope for; if it doesn’t happen that way, so be it. If God has meant for it to happen, it will. If not, then I shall be content and happy just writing as a form of leisure or stress-relieve.

Back to the topic – movie. After the hiatus from movie-watching, in a span of a few days, I caught a couple of movies. The second show that I caught, on Boxing Day, was Passengers. Interestingly, Assassin’s Creed that I watched on Christmas Eve was based on mythology, while Passengers is a sci-fi movie. They are similar in that the subject matter dealt with is hypothetical. To be fair, most movies have an aspect that is hypothetical to a certain extent, I guess that is the reason why movies exist – to cater to the dreams and fantasies conjured up in the minds of humans that is currently not possible.

Passengers went down better with me in terms of how the plot played out; it flowed better for me and was way easier to grasp and understand in comparison. I am not a fan of science fiction, in fact I would have thought that mythology would appeal to me more, but I enjoyed the pace of this movie and its story. The emotional part felt more real to me, and resonated with me more, and the fact that space travel and hibernation seem more realistic than unravelling secrets through a fusion of technology, time travel and genealogy, especially with the apple of Eden thrown in the mix that supposedly held the secret to human will.

I won’t spoil the movie for anyone who is contemplating watching the movie while reading this, so I’m not talking about the plot but it shouldn’t be hard to guess. It is predictable in that way, and there are not many (if at all) twists – that wasn’t meant to be the case and clocking in at slightly less than 2 hours there also wasn’t that much room to play around if plot twists were planned.

Movie review: “Assassin’s Creed”

Aside from a recent (maybe not exactly ‘recent’ depending on how you would want to define it) movie I caught with a friend as part of the showing for the Israel Film Festival in September this year, it has been a very long time since I last caught a movie at the cinema. I cannot even remember what was the last movie that I had watched at the cinema, even though technically I visit the cinema halls fairly frequently.

On Christmas eve, my friends and I decided to spend part of the day watching a show in between our lunch and dinner. What better way to spend the eve of Christmas away from most of the crowds just feasting and enjoying right? Also, since we were at just one location for food and movie, it also meant we stayed out of the downpour that happened in the afternoon, that we were blissfully unaware of until we emerged post-movie.

Anyway, the movie we caught was ‘Assassin’s Creed’. I didn’t really know what the movie was going to be, except for a quick read of the synopsis hour before the movie when my friends asked if I was okay with catching it.

I shouldn’t think that the lack of background on a movie would have affected the viewing, but in this case, it somehow did. Apparently, Assassin’s Creed is based on a video game franchise of the same name, although the plot is original that expands on the game’s mythology. Being clueless about the the video game and the Spanish Inquisition, coupled with very little knowledge about the Templar Order, etc. got me lost in the movie. Whatever connotation I had of ‘Templar’ vaguely linked to what was being depicted in Dan Brown’s stories such as the Da Vinci Code.

Despite that, it’s quite clear and easy to grasp that the Apple of Eden was the object of desire by an organisation in current times, which they tried to obtain via scientific means that somehow to me, seemed very far-fetched and unbelievable. Maybe I am being unimaginative or too pragmatic to appreciate mythology and the vast possibilities that the reel world offers. However, the need to tell the story within a 2-hour time frame could have limited the scriptwriters’ scope in putting in a better flow of the story to render it more digestible.

I could blame myself for not watching it with a more open frame of mind, or it could boil down to the lack of patience to sit through a whole movie these days. It could still be an enjoyable show for those who revel in mythology and oh, based on how it ended (which for me was a little too abrupt), there could be high chances for a sequel.

Merry (belated) Christmas!

So anyway, Christmas has come and gone. So fast. Too fast. I thought it was just November? Good times never seem to last, but that is how things work. Good times are enjoyable and so they appear to pass faster. The reverse is, of course, true as well.

So how did you spend your Christmas? I hope it was all good for everyone out there who happens to come to read this post. Merry Christmas to you, albeit a belated one, although it is technically still Christmas since there are supposed to be 12 days’ of Christmas right? This would make today the 4th day.

Came across an article shared by someone on LinkedIn that talks about complaining, and I would raise both hands sheepishly to admit that I am someone guilty of being a chronic complainer. I know all along it isn’t healthy, even though there are times when there is a need to just ‘vent it out’ and not keep it bottled inside because it is healthier? I don’t know, I guess there are different schools of thought on that, but the article is against complaining. More specifically, it is against complaining without a purpose – it is okay to complain if it leads to a desired outcome, say you are complaining about bad service but with an aim towards hoping there can be an improvement to it (an example in the article). But most of the times, we, or rather I, complain for the sake of it.

It isn’t just a bad habit that should be kicked for good, having it out of our lives actually helps promote better health, maybe better relationships and overall a better quality of life. I think this would be something for me to work on in 2017, and hopefully the tips offered by the article will help me move in the right direction!

a Christmas that doesn’t feel like Christmas at all

I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted anything. It’s getting increasingly challenging to post on WordPress, metaphorically. There really isn’t much to write about and I just do not have the inclination to write. It’s easier on other platforms perhaps, to share, words or pictures.

That said, as I checked out the blog’s page, I realised that the drifting snowflakes are back! Obviously I haven’t activated that this year, so I guess it is a feature that has carried over from the year before. Looking at the snowflakes, I can’t help but feel the sharp contrast to what we are experiencing this year in Singapore; the weather has been nothing short of scorching, warm and humid, save for a few bouts of slightly gloomier, cooler and wetter moments that offer some kind of respite from the heat that is so uncharacteristic of this time of the year. Indeed, if these are the effects of global warming, I really shudder to think of what could lie ahead.

Such weather pushes any thoughts of Christmas far away from my mind, which automatically links the heat to ‘summer’ season. On the other hand, the shopping belt and malls have started pretty early in ramping up the festive vibe, with the decor and then when they began playing Yuletide tunes that kind of sets the tone to get people into the spirit. I didn’t want to, and seldom buy many gifts for Christmas in the first place but as I bought one, the others somehow just seem to follow. It is always a blessing to give than to receive, although I wouldn’t of course refuse presents that come my way!

Going through a period of simplifying my life and hopefully eschew the more material parts of life that I used to (and probably sometimes still do) hanker after. After all, we all come into this world with nothing and will leave with nothing, why should we indulge in material items that don’t do much other than to artificially inflate our egos? It’s something I try to convince myself, that material things don’t make or define a person, definitely not me. I don’t become a “better” person just by carrying an expensive bag, or wearing expensive clothes or shoes. What matters more and most is what is inside of me, which are not what so-called branded items can define.

Anyway, before the year runs out… we have another 10 days or so before 2017 arrives, if I don’t come back here to do another post, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!