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Singlish...Mind your language..

Ran out of inflight movies to watch... and didnt want to watch heavy stuff... so i chose 'Mind your language'.
a good choice and after coming back from the slew of business trips, i introduced the comedy to Ethan...

and then we were chatting over dinner and he asked me, 'Mummy, what's Singlish? why do we have Singlish?"
I said "well, different people have different languages, just like in the show mind your language, and sometimes people introduce their own dialects into English. In Singapore, Chinese like to end the mandarin conversation with 'la, leh, loh'  so people in the past started to add them into spoken English too....

Ethan was chewing his food, looked sideways at me, swallowed and with a smirk on his little handsome face, said slowly and deliberately, "YA LOH...."

*grrr....*
Read a book recently, titled 'Have a Little Faith' by Mitch Albom.
This is the third book i have read from the same author... Flo recommended the first one 'Seven People you meet in heaven' and then 'Tuesdays with Morrie'.

The latest book was not about religion, but about faith....
a mom's faith in his child, a priest's faith in his congregation, a believer's faith in a non-believer and a non-believer's faith in a believer.... and of course, everyone's belief of something divine....

Sometimes in life, all we need is a little faith... that little faith in ourselves ... that what we do, our choices and the path we walk, while it may not be the path frequently traveled, may not necessarily be wrong...
Even when the whole world feels like it is falling apart, it is even more important to have faith...
The book is also about judgement... how people often pre-judge others, based on their looks, their past and what they do for a living.......
It is also about being human... every part of the right and wrong of being human... having the feeling and passion of being a being capable of breathing and feeling.... and loving and showing love...

Reading the book brings about a sense of calm in me... which is vital amid the tumultous environment...

Geneva

The first event that led to the trip to Geneva and the possibility of relocation started with a call from a headhunter based in London.... That was last year, a few weeks before christmas.
That led to the first conversation with the firm days before christmas....
The hour long conversation ended with the message that there are a few more candidates he had to speak with and if all works out, it will mean a trip to visit and a face to face interview...
i had thought that an arranged trip was rather unbelievable and it didnt help that everything  came to a virtual standstill with the christmas and new year holidays and long weekends.

But almost three months later, i stepped onto the plane to Zurich and then Geneva.....
Spent the first day in Geneva, second day in France (Mont Blanc, Chamonix) and the rest back in Geneva for a full day interview, a one and a half day preview trip and apartment and school visits with the relocation agent...
R was there with me all the way and it was an unforgettable experience collectively, and individually....

Road signs (I hope I get an offer)
We went with lots of questions and an open mind, and came back with answers... More importantly, we came back with answers to questions that did not cross our minds....
A lot of it was related to relocation issues.
Personally and with regards to personal life, i think there are some 'answers' that need time for digestion... and these are not exactly 'answers'... but more relevant as signs....
Most of the road signs in Geneva are in French, some signboards have French and German and probably Italian.
Imagine driving on such a road and of course, I dont know French apart from the usual 'bon jour', 'merci', 'au revoir'.....
(a minute detail: some roads have three different traffic lights for one junction, one for bus, one for cars and another for cyclists :-o  )
anyway, the feeling is like reaching a traffic junction and having to decipher what does the road sign says....
the first instance of 'head scratching' will likely be followed with an inner voice that says ' use ur brain, use ur common sense, use ur experience'....
And this is exactly how i feel (partially) after coming back...
What are the signs and what are they telling me????
am i reading them right or am i missing something?

Moisturise, moisturise (I hope if an offer comes, it is decent)
R had a bad case of dry and itchy skin as a result of the cold and dry weather... oh did i mention that it was sub-10 degrees the week we were there?
He had scratched his legs until they were bleeding....
I lathered him in moisturiser in the last few days....

Personally and with regards to personal life, this is a moisturizing trip....
it was a moisturizer for our tired souls and we came back, well, moisturized in most ways possible...
We saw what we needed to see and it was a special trip...
i came back and know that this is not a vacation nor a work trip that requires another vacation for me to recover from...
Dry and cold weather aside,
my eyes were having a feast at the sights around me.....
i was using my eyes more than i was using my ears and my mouth...
if there was calm, it wasnt uneasy....
if there was silence, it wasnt deafening....

Time (I want a chance to make a difference)
I started thinking about what i can do with time available there...since shops and supermarkets are closed by 7pm and not opened on Sundays...
I am quietly thrilled at the prospect of learning French and possibly taking up the long overdue masters degree....
The relocation agent gave a good tip that i should learn French together with Ethan...
That will be mutually beneficial and i totally agree...


The trip has since ended but the memory lingers on... as it was special in my eyes...

The economics of relationship....


Economics of relationship: Prisoners' dilemma

The prisoner's dilemma is a fundamental problem in game theory that demonstrates why two people might not cooperate even if it is in both their best interests to do so.

In its classical form, the prisoner's dilemma ("PD") is presented as follows:

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies (defects from the other) for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent (cooperates with the other), the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

If we assume that each player cares only about minimizing his or her own time in jail, then the prisoner's dilemma forms a non-zero-sum game in which two players may each cooperate with or defect from (betray) the other player. In this game, as in most game theory, the only concern of each individual player (prisoner) is maximizing his or her own payoff, without any concern for the other player's payoff. The unique equilibrium for this game is a Pareto-suboptimal solution, that is, rational choice leads the two players to both play defect, even though each player's individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperatively.

In the classic form of this game, cooperating is strictly dominated by defecting, so that the only possible equilibrium for the game is for all players to defect. No matter what the other player does, one player will always gain a greater payoff by playing defect. Since in any situation playing defect is more beneficial than cooperating, all rational players will play defect, all things being equal.

The classical prisoner's dilemma can be summarized thus:

 Prisoner B Stays SilentPrisoner B Betrays
Prisoner A Stays SilentEach serves 6 monthsPrisoner A: 10 years
Prisoner B: goes free
Prisoner A BetraysPrisoner A: goes free
Prisoner B: 10 years
Each serves 5 years


Ok ... that was a lengthy explanation of prisoners' dilemma in game theory.... and now to what I am trying to say pertaining relationships....

I have been thinking from time to time about R and V's situation (somehow these two letters are not unfamiliar with me.... )

R and V are obviously in a PD situation. If R wants to 'maximise' his 'outcome', his choices are either to
'cooperate' or to 'defect'.


 R leavesR stays
V leavesboth work out equal time and access with kid R: monopolises kid
V: limited access to kid
V staysR: limited access to kid
V: monopolises kid
kid's happy but will eventually know something is wrong
To repeat, the unique equilibrium is a Pareto-suboptimal solution, that is, rational choice leads the two players to both 'STAY', even though each player's individual reward would be greater if they both 'LEAVE'.

get it get it? :-)

Card (II)

I bought a card some weeks back.... meant to write some words in it and pass to R...
These are the words originally in the card:

" I hate it when we fight,
because I know deep in my heart
how much we care for one another.

It's silly, when you think about it,
that two people who love each other
should have a hard time getting back on the right track.

I want so much for us
to listen openly to each other
and focus on what brought us together
in the first place....

to get past the hurt and tears
to the hugs and kisses....

beyond misunderstandings
to forgiveness.

I'm more than willing to try,
and I hope you are, too...

...because when things are right between us,
life couldnt be better.
And I cant wait till we're back
enjoying each other again...."

A song that tugs at my heartstring


盼到了黎明
又怕让自己清醒
有多少未知的莫名委屈
要我强忍著不能哭泣
我真的累了
累得想放弃逃避
逃回那不再有谁会在乎的过去

走过了风雨
在身上留下了痕迹
回想起这一切百感交集
分不清该可悲还是欢喜
我真的累了
累得我无法继续
有谁能看见我那颗平凡执著的心

为何我用真心做的梦爱的人说的话
没有人愿意相信
而一个小小的天地只属於自己
却如此遥不可及
我只想用真心做个梦爱个人说些话
安静的面对命运
但这无奈的心情
我又能说给谁听

走过了风雨
在身上留下了痕迹
回想起这一切百感交集
分不清该可悲还是欢喜
我真的累了
累得我无法继续
有谁能看见我那颗平凡执著的心

为何我用真心做的梦爱的人说的话
没有人愿意相信
而一个小小的天地只属於自己
却如此遥不可及
我只想用真心做个梦爱个人说些话
安静的面对命运
但这无奈的心情
我又能说给谁听

为何我用真心做的梦爱的人说的话
没有人愿意相信
而一个小小的天地只属於自己
却如此遥不可及
我只想用真心做个梦爱个人说些话
安静的面对命运
但这无奈的心情
我又能说给谁听
但这无奈的心情
我又能说给谁听

Something, someone, relative


It's been over a month since Flo's departure and she is constantly on my mind….
I constantly replayed the scene at her home, a few nights before she left, hearing her moan in pain, catching a glimpse of her frail body… how we hid in one of the rooms so that she will not know we were there….

And the next time I saw her, she was a picture of calm and deep sleep and I remembered begging R to ask her to wake up…
I have never felt such raw emotions and never, ever, in my wildest imagination, knew I am capable of feeling such deep, heart wrenching sadness…

And then her funeral and cremation at Mandai, where again I broke down uncontrollably….
After that, I thought I have drained out all my emotions and am left with small pockets of sadness and sense of loss for a dear friend…

Everyone said the usual comments, she is with the Lord, she is in a better place, she is no longer in pain, she is happy now….

I tell myself those things too… ran them in my head repeatedly….
And I thought I can move on like others, I thought I know myself well enough …that I am strong enough…
I was wrong.. So wrong…

Visiting her at her niche in St Anne's a month later proved it…
The pain came back with the same intensity… it was like I was transported back to a month ago…..
The sadness was overbearing.. I couldn’t stop crying.. And I meant I was really bawling my heart out..
Like a baby that lost her favorite toy and that was the end of the world…. Like someone has robbed me of my ability of self control or ability to breathe properly… like I am another person I barely recognise….

….i don’t think flo would have recognised me in that state too...

I know she is near… I feel her presence from time to time…
She knows I am not the most observant person on earth, so she gave very very obvious and clear signs that I cant miss at all…

The moo-moo cow savings bank that 'moo-ed' for no rhyme or reason and repeatedly some more, the light in the back passenger seat of my car which lit up on my drive home and last night, through the rain and wind which opened my bedroom door. Her signs are definitely not subtle but what is she trying to tell me?

At first, I thought she was saying her goodbyes through the moo-moo piggy bank
And then she was telling me that she has sat in my new car as she knows I would give anything to share my joy and drive her home in it… and above all these, she wants me to know that she is watching over me…. Like an angel…

What was she trying to tell me last night?
It dawned on me not immediately… but slowly…

Amidst all these… life has not been easy….work and personal …. and grieving the loss of a friend.. A friend whom I have gotten so close to in the last few years and a friend I will maintain closeness with for the rest of my life…. A friend who wants me to be happy…

Recently, everytime I come across thorny issues, I will ask myself what will flo say to me? What will her advice be?

Admittedly, I am now standing at a cross-road…. And I have asked her for advice… I ran through her blogs again, looking at her past postings and it's amazing how sometimes when you don’t search, you find….

And this is what i think she is telling me (which brings us back to the title of this post) :

In life, everyone needs something or someone…
Something to hold on to and/or someone to lean on, to share….
That's living a life, those that think they can survive on their own and be happy are living a lie, not a life….
Something can range from religious faith to alcohol/drugs
Someone can be family/friends….

It's all relative…. In what sense?
Hypothetically, if you work in a dumpster full of rats and undescribable filth,
Getting back to a humble home and a fresh shower and simple meal is akin to heaven…
Or perhaps, what's more commonly applicable to employees like us,
the harder the (career) life is outside, the tolerance for something less harsh elsewhere increases too…
Of course, the person working in a dumpster will from time to time dream about a palace and big cars and loads of cash, but we're talking tolerance here, not dreams/ideals….

I have to repeat, it is all relative (has anyone wondered why people related to us apart from direct family members are called 'relatives'??? I am thinking it's because they are our 'relativity' index -- how one cousin is richer, the other aunt is prettier etc… cos afterall, we have the same family blood running in our veins right?)

Ok, I sidetracked…
 
Flo spent the last nine years on a mission ---  her marriage, her family, her faith.
She gave wholeheartedly, without reservation and never asking to receive….
She eventually gave up on her marriage but I know that until the very day she departed, she has not reached a closure yet...

All this while, she kept her emotions to herself and from her family. Her family comes first and foremost, she loved them unconditionally and accepted their shortcomings and embraced their love for her.

I remembered asking her a long time ago about her parents' reaction to her decision to divorce….
And I remembered she brushed it off lightly… and gave me the indication that they did not fuss over it and were mostly supportive of her decision.

I remembered being happy for her that she has family standing by her side during such a tumultous period….
But, it never dawned on me until this very day WHY….
The answer was quite simple and I finally understood …..

They never had to fear that she will forsake them….
Regardless of what happens to her and what major decision she makes and what major steps she takes in her life,
They never have to worry that she will disappear from their lives.
They have the constant assurance and confidence and faith in her that regardless of any adversity that flo has to face, she will never ever give up on herself.
In fact, she continued to be a pillar of strength, a beacon of light whereever and whenever possible...

And it is her love for them that makes her stand tall and strong in facing the difficult task she had….

She told me before what triggered her to finally take the plunge and go to the lawyer's office.
She said it was a remark her mother in law made. Her MIL said to her it was because she was 'pai mia' (ill-fated) so she has to accept her situation of being married to S.

That woke her up and she realised that what she has subjected herself to (in terms of her marriage) equates to putting her parents through misery cos she was anything but 'pai mia'..
She has a family who loves and pampers her, provided her a chance to study overseas even though they could hardly afford it and lots of friends who love her and treat her with respect.
"How is this 'pai mia'?", she used to say...
The strength to pull the plug far surpassed the strength needed to stay .... and she did it.....
her love for her family provided her the rationale and courage, pushed her to move a far more greater distance than her own desire for freedom and happiness could have led her to...
it was more a selfless act than it was a selfish one.... 

This realisation set me thinking.....
and i will share it in future posts.....








Heaven knows...

While in the car on our way home, I asked Ethan, who was sitting next to me in the passenger seat, "baby, can you remember how auntie Flora looks like?"

He replied instantly, "of course ! last time I saw her was at auntie joanne's wedding... ah no, during lunch at auntie joanne's.... thats half a year ago already..."

i said, "the last time was when she was in our home at Ecoville, when she told you about the scar near her left shoulder and what is inside and what's it for..."
and i thought to myself, that was also the night she also told Ethan about cancer, in the way that a child can understand.....

then he asked a question that surprises me... "mummy, was auntie flora wearing the necklace when u saw her yesterday?"
i had to think hard... "what necklace baby?"
"the one around her neck, she was always wearing that..."
i wasnt totally sure if he was referring to the necklace that has a cross,  i knew Flo was wearing that for some time but i wasnt sure if she was still wearing them when he saw her... but i was amazed at the little details he remembers about her....
n i think he hopes that she was wearing that cos it bears a significant meaning as she goes to heaven....
(i couldnt help but went to take out the photos we had at jo's wedding... n yes, she was wearing the necklace with a cross....)

Ethan likes her and she has a way with kids.... even though she does not have one of her own...

and then we talked about heaven.... and Ethan asked me, "mummy next time when you go to heaven will you meet auntie flora?"
i said, nearly choking with tears, "definitely, we will meet again..."
"mummy, what's heaven like?"
"It's a very very nice and peaceful place baby"
"is it nice like Singapore like that?"
"much much nicer, where there is no pain but only happiness... baby, think of the nicest place you have been to (pause to let him think) ... then multiply that by a million times.."

and my son being the person who never fails to outshine in delivering punchlines to make me laugh.... said....
"but hor, my favorite place is KFC leh...."

i couldnt help but laughed out loud....
Dear Flora,
i know u will laugh heartily if u hear this....
in his own little ways, he thinks of you... you are in his fond memories... and he wishes that we will meet in heaven....

I will never say goodbye

Hey sunshine!
i will never say goodbye,
just because,
we will still be doing what we used to do... whereever you are...
and it will probably involve eating.. a lot of eating..
and oh boy, can we eat !! :-)

and i am sure whereever u're going, it will be a muuccchh better place...
and that you will never forget me....
i want you to know that you've been an angel to me
i want you to know how much u mean to me and how much i love u my dear friend...
i want to thank you for the time you spent with me.. given your conditions and how you still choose to make time for me.......
for me, those were priceless... and i will continue to live those moments again and again...

the birthday dinner we had at changi village was especially unforgettable...
cos u look gorgeous and i can still remember your look when u saw the present...
and those rides back home with you in the back seat, chattering away....
and the gossips..  how can we leave out the gossips :-)

i will never say goodbye, so dont u dare harbor any thoughts of leaving...
u're the sunshine,
n u know how sunny singapore can be, so u're going to be everywhere...
 and that's just u... surrounding us with your warm personality and of course, stormy moods at times, but tht's u, and thts what we all love u for...
u have no idea how u've touched my life and i am sure a lot of other pple's lives...
u have been brave and most of the time, thought of others before yourself...
u have been giving without asking to receive....
u always say, 'if there is a return, it will be a bonus...'
and how your actions have shown how important i am to you....
thats how wonderful you are and it is my greatest honor to be your friend,

i will always remember what u told me and believe me, i have learnt, cos u've taught me well....
i am sorry i have caused you worry and sometimes tears... but pls worry no more cos i have grown up...

i will never say goodbye,
cos u live in my heart, and for as long as my heart shall beat, u will be there...
you will be with me in my new car, new home, new eating places, holidays.....
and we will enjoy ourselves silly....
we have done a lot together and we will be doing more....

i will never say goodbye, cos none of us is leaving....
and u know whereever you are, u will find that special feeling u've been longing for...
u will find that special home that you love and you will be baking n cooking...
and there will be parties and music and happiness and of course, the marvellous food u cook !
i know you will enjoy that ... and u more than deserve all the goodness whereever u are...

so dearest flora, let's not say goodbye.... and never forget to smile... whereever you are...

whirlwind and second chances

sometimes i feel that my life is a whirlwind.... then again... perhaps life is a whirlwind in general and all i am trying to do is to get a firm footing even when the odds are stacked against me.....
i havent been able to write.... so much has happened and i have realised for quite some time that i cant write when i am emotional.... i cant verbalise what i actually feel when i m feeling too much... weird but true.....
perhaps this is a natural anaesthetic that i cant document parts of my life when they failed to make much sense...
all i know is i am living life and learning along the way....
sometimes there are questions that circle in my mind.... unanswered....

the most recent one is:  what will you do if you're given a second chance in life?
will you live it differently, will you take a different route, will you even take it, embrace it, make the most out of it, or u will hesitate and fill your mind with fear and trepidation, or even wish that you wouldnt have to face it or have to make a decision on whether to take it or not?
what do you do? what do you do?
it's always easy to say follow your heart......
it brings to mind what someone very dear to me once told me .... he said, i follow my heart, and it says to stay by your side......
that was more than two years ago.... but those words still touch the core of my heart.....

anyway, just some random ramblings....
till later.........



 

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