the last day…?

Today marks the official end of the 8-week circuit breaker period.

It is the first day of June, and the start of the last month for this first half of the year. Five months have ‘Zoomed’ past us, with ‘Zoom’ taking on a newfound meaning in many of our lives as a lot of us were suddenly acquainted with this videoconferencing app/facility which not many of us knew about or use prior to Covid-19. All too quickly, we have been forced to become adaptive to how rapidly the situation evolved and some of us, probably counting myself within the statistic, had been a victim of mal-adaptation.

What happens after today? Is there any palpable difference, with the myriad of advisories from the authorities about returning to the workplace? As much as I am rather glad to be away from the office, because I honestly do not miss my colleagues a single bit, it could be a reprieve from the current state of ‘lockdown’ I seem to be experiencing, forced to put up with ridiculously inconsiderate behaviours of people living in the units around me. I don’t know if the change in scenery, and a renewed routine of going to the office again, will have any positive bearing on my mental health and well-being. I hate being negative and fatalistic; I hate having to be ranting and whining all the time, and dissolving into a sobbing heap of mess when the pressure gets too overwhelming arising from a single email or string of disturbing noises.

Has my psychological state caused the hypersensitivity to noise? I don’t think I ever recalled myself being so prone to feeling irritation and annoyance, or having such a major penchant for quietness and peace. Is it because there is too much ‘noise’ in my mind that any further extraneous sources of noise just makes everything too much to bear? Why can’t people be more considerate and ‘human’? It sometimes feel as though I am living within a zoo of sorts, with monkeys and elephants staying in units surrounding me. Are these not human beings residing in dwellings that were actually built for humans?

I can’t help but to engage in such talk. I admit. It’s deplorable.

So I have been feeling a lot of resentment (as usual) and disgruntledness over the last few days arising from some work-related matters – no surprises there. In our corporate world, it never pays to do something well because you end up being taken for granted and saddled with more work because that’s the easiest course for the boss to take to minimise any pain on the boss’ side to deal with the non-performative ones who were originally tasked to do that thing. Presenteeism is also something our work environment here in Singapore will never get over, despite all this talk about ‘telecommuting becoming a new normal for workplaces here’. To put it crudely, it’s bullshit. Employers love ‘face-time’, and they don’t care that employees may well be putting in long hours at the office engaging in non-productive work as long as they see them physically there which they naively construed as ‘doing work’, as opposed to letting employees work-from-home and feeling all manner of insecure that employees are actually skiving, even if demonstrable higher productivity results.

What happens next? What will I feel next?

We just have to take it a step at a time, a day at a time. I am just glad that I can now visit my parents! Although at this moment, I can only do so without having my brother’s family there since we are not from the same household.

My past posts have all been annotated with photos of that same place which has become my favourite go-to destination during this period. Let me break it up with something more frivolous – circuit breaker “cooking” – which really is just a fried egg. So much for cooking.

一个人的精彩

I’m not sure if I have used it correctly but in any case, it doesn’t really matter.

I am not entirely incapable of positive rumination, I surmised. Does rumination always connote a negative meaning anyway?

It was a good weekend I had. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it was just a simple and normal weekend like most other weekends, but yet I think I sort of enjoyed it.

I was supposed to meet someone on Saturday, a day that the other person proposed after a suggestion to meet sometime back wasn’t available for the other party. On Saturday itself, said person dropped me a text and asked if I could meet on Sunday instead. It wasn’t that I was trying to be difficult or inflexible, but I had sort of made plans for Sunday, which included yoga, followed by church and then visiting my parents. Eventually, the Saturday and Sunday didn’t exactly pan out as I had planned (I visited my parents on Saturday instead of Sunday) but I told the person I wasn’t free on Sunday, which was true as at the point when I responded.

I pondered and thought, did I want to go ahead to meet the person and what was it that I wanted from the meet-up? I know that friends don’t really need any express/explicit reasons to meet for a catch-up but sometimes I get reluctant to go through with such meet-ups. There are friends I love to meet regularly because conversation just flows naturally and deeply. But with some, it feels superficial and contrived, and end up mired in frustration because the other person doesn’t or can’t empathise or comprehend. It’s like when I share about certain things and the responses that come from the person generally fall into certain categories that make me feel: (1) I am not trying hard enough (to change the situation/achieve something); (2) I am thinking too much; (3) I am just being idealistic/unrealistic. The way such conversations go tend to invalidate and trivialise how I think and feel, even though, yes I know everything isn’t all about me. But it is not fair to imply that I have not tried hard enough and it is frustrating to be told that ‘maybe if it isn’t happening, it’s just not meant to be / the timing is not right – you should just stay where you are’.

What is it that I want to hear from them anyway? Maybe it is better then that I tell myself that instead of hoping to hear certain words from another’s lips.

So there are things to be thankful for despite that things didn’t go as planned. I had a quick and simple brunch by myself on Saturday, then in the afternoon I went for a second yoga class. I don’t know if I wasn’t feeling that great/well then or it was simply too warm, both outside and inside the studio but physically my state was bad. I struggled in class, and after that stumbled out and slumped onto the floor unable to get up without compromising my balance/consciousness. Some kind lady saw me outside the studio and offered to help me refill my bottle because I was parched for sure, and I had no ounce of energy in me to stand up and fill my bottle. I was so thankful for that helping hand.

Then my mum called after I showered and informed me that my brother and his family were heading home for dinner and asked me if I was going (and why not, she asked lol). So it turned out eventually I headed back for dinner with them and it was almost like a feast my mum cooked. It wasn’t anything extravagant like lobsters or abalone (I am not a fan anyway) but the amount of food she cooked had all of us filled to the brim.

Sunday came and went, again with classes (and some twist that also eventually turned out alright) and church service – where I sort of couldn’t concentrate at all and kept wanting to doze off.

Although I did spend a bit of the weekend on work, it was generally done voluntarily. Maybe I will talk a little more on that in the next post because this is getting a tad lengthy. Overall, it was a good weekend anyway.

It’s the eve of Chinese New Year

For the past few months, it’s always been clockwork, what I do daily rain or shine, weekday or weekend. Most days anyway, unless there is some other appointment that conflicts with the routine.

There have even been days when I would awake with a jolt, wondering which day of the week it was, and if I’d woken up late to miss the regular yoga class I attend. It’s rare and of course I hope it never happens, because anyway as of late, I can’t sleep well. Most days I would rouse from slumber before the alarm actually goes off and so my day would begin earlier than I’d planned for it to.

It’s CNY eve. Most people are scrambling to do their last minute shopping, whether for groceries for the reunion dinner, for the next few days’ meals, or new clothes and shoes. Several shops had already done their last day of business yesterday and let their employees off for today and the next couple of days.

Lunchtime. All F&B outlets that are still open register long queues of hungry people, students or working adults off from their half day of school or work, or those taking a meal break before going off to run more last minute errands.

All this while, it was ‘business as usual’ for me. Did my usual stuff, had my usual breakfast, and decided to go get some non-CNY stuff.

Then I continued to mull the plausibility of skipping reunion dinner.

I really don’t feel like it because I just wanted to hide myself at home and veg out, maybe indulge in fast food for dinner.

But.. could I? And would I? The last thing I’d want is to make my parents worry, or unhappy. Not turning up to reunion dinner, when I’m obviously not out of town, would be a big thing.

Then again, would anyone notice actually?

And so I fulfilled my duty. Is it out of love for my parents or an obligation to be there, I really don’t know.

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!

Happy birthday!

So without much fanfare as per the norm these days, my birthday came and went. It was such a typical day, going to work… just that I got the afternoon off and went off to meet my sis(-in-law) for lunch.

What are birthdays without cakes, especially when I have developed a sweet tooth somewhere along the way over these years.

This wasn’t a birthday cake. In fact, I got this for my friend (and also for myself to try) when I visited her at her home while she was recuperating from a surgery. It’s a new cake offered by Starbucks, a Coconut cream sponge cake, that was surprisingly quite nice, to me. Perhaps because it’s meant to be a sponge cake after all, it didn’t feel dense and heavy, and the coconut scent/taste wasn’t too strong or overpowering. I didn’t really take the cream that much so I can’t comment how good or bad it is. But overall, it’s pretty alright and good for sharing, as always!This was a real birthday cake. Ahead of my birthday, and also my bro’s, who has his birthday in this month too, my eldest bro and sis-in-law took us out for lunch one balmy Sunday afternoon, and surprised us after a hearty and comforting local delights lunch with these 2 slices of birthday cakes topped with candles! This was the one and only candle that I blew out this year. The food we had was good, it had a rather authentic ‘wok hei’ to it, and the cakes were also delicious. Maybe it was made even better because of the thoughts behind and enjoying the special moment as the birthday girl. 🙂Not a cake, but there’s still ‘cake’, i.e. Korean seafood pancake. Haha. Met a friend for dinner and she was having a craving for Korean food so off to a Korean eatery we went! The food was yummy, whether it’s the main or the ban-chan. I loved the japchae, even if it was a little oily but perhaps that was what made it so good! The portion was so generous for it being called an ‘appetiser’ or ‘starter’ so thankfully I didn’t order any main. With the ban-chan, the japchae and the pancake, I think I was already stuffed but yet I couldn’t resist not cleaning up whatever I could because the food was just too good (imho) and I hate wasting. As much as I possibly could.So when I met sis for lunch on the actual day, she brought me to U-town and we had lunch at a bistro. Even though we went fairly late for lunch, the place was still packed. But with the luxury of time that afternoon, we could afford to sit around and by the time we were done with our mains, the place already sort of cleared out and we could enjoy our cakes and coffee in peace while having a nice chat.

The carrot cake that we ordered wasn’t as good as we had hoped or expected it to be. But oh well, we can’t really tell if it’s good just based on looks. It had a rather flat taste and the sponge part felt a tad too dry and hard. But the apple crumble tart was good though! Sis commented that the carrot cake carried more cinnamon than the apple tart but I thought the taste came from the spiced apples within the tart. Anyhow, we really enjoyed the tart and it was a great and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.So that summed up my birthday celebration, if you would even consider it as a celebration. I suppose that as time passes and we age, birthdays become less of an event and quieter. We don’t need to be surrounded with people to celebrate our birthdays, or huge and noisy parties. That was never really my thing anyway. Quiet one-on-one or family gatherings are preferred because these are the people who matter anyway. 🙂