Tuesday, September 30, 2014


People in Hong Kong have taken to the streets over the last few days in a peaceful demonstration for democracy.   Tear gas has been used by the police in an attempt to dissipate the crowds; this has backfired, with many criticizing this action as being overexcessive.  Many of the protesters are college students; even high schoolers have joined in.

I am impressed by the civility of these protesters who have taken to cleaning up after themselves, picking up trash and leaving the streets as clean as possible.  Some have indicated that it's because they love Hong Kong.

I'm glad for the lack of guns in this country.  I can't imagine how much more violent this could be if people were armed with lethal weapons.

I am pessimistic about whether this demonstration will actually make Beijing change their policy regarding free elections.  The Chinese have historically shown themselves to be particularly high handed especially when it comes to politics.  I don't think this will be any different...but I would love to be proven wrong.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Full Circle (sort of)


The Fates have decided that we move to Singapore in the coming year.  

I can't say that I am unhappy about it.  I will be close to my parents and at their age, it is great that I will be able to spend more time with them.

I will be able to reconnect with friends, both long-time and recent.  Many good friends from Beijing have relocated to Singapore over the last few years.  Reconnecting with old friends will be quite different though.  I find my views & attitudes about social mores, parenting, education, well, heck, life in general, have changed over the years that I have lived away from there.  I am not sure how well received those views will be by some of them.  I'll just have to wait and see.

However, moving there will mean that Z. will not be able to visit, for reasons which for now, best remain un-revealed on the world wide web.  Both boys would prefer that we remain in Hong Kong or move back to the US of A.  But A. has to move where his job brings us; after all, there are still college tuition fees to be paid (less one after this semester, yay!).

So for now, Singapore it is, for better or for worse.

As for Hong Kong, well.....I never was in love with this city.  But for what it's worth, it's been a good respite from living in China, and the dim sum has been delicious.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

A Wedding and A Funeral

This has been a summer of joy & sorrow.

In the heat of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I saw my sister's daughter marry the love of her life in an idyllic lakeside setting.  My boys and my sister's children spent a precious two days together; the cousins had not been together in the same place at the same time for six years.

Yesterday, a beloved favorite uncle passed away after a long and valiant battle against chronic myelocytic leukemia.  He was a radiologist by training, a highly intelligent and musically gifted man.  His quick pun-ny wit and sense of humor meant that much of the time spent with him was filled with side-splitting laughter and tears spilling over from mirth.

This week, I will head into the winter weather of the Southern Hemisphere to say a final goodbye to him.  I will reunite with cousins of my own whom I haven't seen in years.

Rest in peace, dear TKF....

Afterglow - Helen Lowrie Marshall

I'd like the memory of me
To be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when day is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve,
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave
Behind - when day is done.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I miss

I miss the wide open spaces.

I miss the clear blue skies and fresh air.

I miss cheap fresh produce from the local farms & supermarkets.

I miss planting flowers in the yard.

I miss, I miss, I miss.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Missing Us

I've said many times & to many people that being an empty nester has been very liberating.  However, that doesn't take away from the fact that I am missing Us, the Family Unit.  Whether it is sitting at the dinner table, talking about stuff or watching a movie together then dissecting the storyline after, or just being in the same room while surfing the Internet, I do miss Us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I don't consider myself religious.  Spiritual, perhaps, but not religious.  I used to think I was Christian back in my teenage years, but I blame that on youthful susceptibility to peer pressure (my close friends went to church, and so I did too).  As I got older and was exposed to more & varied types of people, I became jaded by those who called themselves Christian but were not good in how they behaved towards others (ethically), and their attitude towards those who did not believe.  Their evangelicalistic zeal (aka "Believe that Jesus is your Saviour or you will go to hell!!!" diatribes) turned me off from the religion.

But don't get me wrong, I still prayed to God although that has lapsed in the recent years.  I guess my perception of religion & a superior being has evolved over the years.  Whether that Being is called God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Yahweh, to me it doesn't matter.   What matters to me is for people to NOT be hypocritical.  Don't kill or behave badly or show disrespect or abuse others in the name of your religion & your God.  The God that I believe in is not a cruel one who would ask us to kill or rape or maim or curse in His name.

I seldom talk about religion with my friends.  I have friends who are Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, atheists, agnostics.  My true friends don't preach to me about their beliefs and I, in return, don't preach to them.  I generally stay away from those who are overzealous in their religious fervor.  I do not want to be told that I will go to hell if I don't believe.  You see, I don't believe that I will go to hell.  I am not even sure if I believe that there IS one.  Perhaps our consciousness will pass on to another existential plane.  I just don't know.  For me, I just want to live this physical life the best I can.  Be good (as good can be).  Be kind (as much as possible).  Do no harm.

The reason why I am writing this is because I prayed two days ago, after a lapse of God-only-knows how many years.  I haven't prayed in a long time.  I used to pray about exams, and about my personal life.  But honestly, life has been good to me, so that is probably the reason why I haven't done so in so long.  But I prayed two days ago, because a close relative of mine, who has been living with chronic myelogenous leukemia for several years, just took a turn for the worse.  His blood work showed that it was turning into the blast phase with accompanying deterioration of his physical condition.  

So I prayed.

Today I found out that his latest blood test shows that the blast count has dropped, his white count & platelets have also come up.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I wonder what the response will be from the Ministry of Health to this mother's letter in the Straits Times....

Polyclinic doctors don't have it easy

I AM the mother of a polyclinic doctor and would like to give a different perspective to Ms Evelyn Ong Foo Chou's letter ("So hard to consult a polyclinic doc"; Tuesday).
After waiting for hours, some patients are likely to be frustrated and angry when they enter the doctor's consultation room. They want to get a consultation worth their wait.
But how do you expect the doctor to give them more "eye-contact time" when he has to document the patient's medical history, conduct the medical examination, reach a diagnosis and write the prescription - all within a matter of minutes - given that he has to fulfil a minimum quota of 60 patients a day?
Some patients express their frustration through anti-social behaviour, such as stealing the doctor's mobile phone, using abusive language when they do not get the prescription or medical certificate they want, or crushing the queue slip and throwing it at the doctor.
Many polyclinic doctors do not even have time for a proper lunch and often eat junk food from the vending machine.
Which doctor would want to work in a polyclinic when locum jobs in the private sector pay three times more, with one-third the patient load?
If there were no bond in place for Singapore's medical graduates, more than half of them would have already left the service.
Chew Ghim Lian (Ms)