Archive for June, 2014

Text conversation between The Other Half and I while trying to decide on which CD to purchase

Me: Rubenstein or Ashkenazy for Chopin Nocturnes? Reviews are mixed online…

He: Ashkenazy from my youtube.

Me: I have been listening to the shorts on Amazon. Rubenstein’s version is more muffled. But slightly more sensitive than Ashkenazy.

He: Ashkenazy. Trust me I listen to them a lot while doing housework.


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A couple of nights ago, my daughter took out this animal chess set and insisted that her brother played animal chess with her.

I had explained the rules to her some time ago and ascertained that she was still a little bit too young to figure out how to play animal chess competently so we just placed the set in the drawer and forgot about it.

Now, her game with Lion was very short-lived because Lion wanted to “eat” her rat and she tossed it into the “River” to stop him from doing so. He said, “I don’t want to play with you anymore!” and walked away to do something else.

So she started pouting and complaining about how no one wanted to play animal chess with her. Then she asked me.

I could see a disaster in the horizon and told her that I refused to play with her because if I won, she’d get upset with me.

In the end, she managed to get her father to play with her. Predictably, she lost.

Now this is where it started to go downhill.

She moaned and cried and accused him of cheating, to the point where I had to take her away and had a quiet word with her about being a sore loser and how it is unkind to label someone a cheat just because you are not good enough to beat him. I did manage to calm her down and get her to figure out that to beat Daddy she just needs to practice to try to get better at animal chess.
A few people I spoke with about the incident thereafter told me that we should let her win the game because she is just a kid and it would avoid all of the temper tantrums.

But then again, no one will let her win any games in real life, right? Personally, I suck at chess in general so I am in no position to teach her how to do it better. What I figured is that I do need to teach the kiddies how to be better losers. I just haven’t figured out how.

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wedding speech

It’s been a couple of weeks after my best friend’s wedding and here, for posterity, is the speech I made that night which I wrote over a couple of days and after a fact-check meeting with him over cider:

I received a text message from Jeffrey one Sunday in March requesting me to make this speech on the account that I am one of his longest standing friends.

I am greatly honoured to have been asked but also greatly amused given that Jeffrey and I had once decided that I was probably his most embarrassing friend to be around since I remember stuff about him that he probably doesn’t even remember himself, like fights he got into in school when we were 8 when someone ripped off the sleeves of his school shirt, or how he spent a significant amount time at when we were 11 sitting beside me in class taking apart his digital watch with the screwdriver tool of his swiss army knife.

But he’s probably forgotten about that discussion we had too, like most other things. Good memory has never been one of his things.

However, in place of that almost chronic forgetfulness, Jeffrey has a wonderful instinct and great tenacity. He doesn’t say a lot usually but all the things that I remember him saying are quite illuminating. I can go on about what a wonderful person he is, what a great friend he is, but I am sure that most of us here are in agreement on that one already. Our friendship over the last 26 years is in itself a testament of that.

What I am going to talk about instead is Teresa, and in relation, Jeffrey’s great tenacity.

I first heard about Teresa sometime in 2003 or 2004, mentioned casually by Jeffrey in passing during one of our meetings. He told me about a girl from Malaysia he met through Soka who was some time an air stewardess, some time studying for her degree, some time living in KL. Jeffrey usually isn’t very big on details, possibly related to his bad memory.

Then after that mention he abruptly went off to London.

Sometime in mid 2006, Jeffrey finished his stint in London and returned home. We met for drinks one evening and made plans to meet again the following week so that he could meet my then-boyfriend now-husband. But the day before we were to meet, Jeffrey text me and told me that he couldn’t meet me anymore because he had to go to KL. I wished him well and told him “Don’t come back without her.” And what do you know he actually did come back with her the following week. So I met Teresa for the very first time in 2006 at dinner.

It was a great meeting and I remembered being hopeful but shortly thereafter, Jeffrey once again abruptly left the country to the US for the next 5 years or so.

When he next returned to Singapore in 2010, he told me he was back for good. I asked him what his plans were, having been away for so long. He told me that he was going to see Teresa again. She was now back living and working in KL.

So over the next 3 years, he would get on numerous buses up to KL on Friday evenings, even on crutches shortly after undergoing a knee surgery. He told me about long term plans, about Teresa trying to find work here, about relocation and then eventually marriage. The logistics were crazy, but Jeffrey and Teresa made it work and we are here today celebrating their hard-earned happiness.

The moral of the story I guess is that there is much to be said about hard work. Love is not just about finding someone you can get along with. The magic about Love is finding someone who draws you back again and again, like a ship returning to dock after sailing through miles of emptiness and unpredictable weather.

I have always thought that theirs is such a wonderful love story, how two people met and parted and met and parted and met again to realize that they still felt the same way about each other after all this time.

And that is why every time I see Jeffrey and Teresa together it helps me feel a little more hopeful in this cynical world of ours.

And with that, I offer my heartiest congratulations to Jeffrey and Teresa. I wish them a lifetime of happiness together.


It was a great dinner; one of the better ones I’ve been to in recent times. I didn’t get to take any pictures because Lion was being a little fussy that night. Oh well.

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It is my son’s 4th birthday today.

I just attended his Parent-Teacher Conference on Saturday and realized that he is a much-loved child, with his cheeky grin and ready hugs.

Yesterday evening, he drove me absolutely bananas while I was trying to bake a cake / ice a cake / pack all of the 25 goodie bags for his classmates in school. I ignored him, marched up the stairs for a quick shower, then returned to the hall to sit at the piano for a while.

After the second reading of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, he came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, Mummy, for making you angry.” I stopped and gave him a hug.

Did I mention that we also held our wedding dinner 7 years ago today?

We are truly blessed.

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