mental indigestion

Emma at Age 5 December 29, 2009

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 11:48 pm

"And then ah...."

1. She likes grown-up notebooks and sparkly pens.
2. She managed to figure out watching Sesame Street clips on youtube all by herself.
3. She likes to win in games.
4. She gets constipation when she eats chocolate.
5. She prefers Hong Kong to Singapore because it’s “not too hot and not too cold and there are no ants”.

Emma's notes


We are the “Hua”

Filed under: Whee! — mel @ 10:00 am

The bout of festive blues was soothingly countered by the flurry of hitching friends over the weekend. The packed matrimonial schedule was something I had not exactly been looking forward to – after all, December is really a wedding-fatigued month – but in the end, nothing beats the genuine joy of seeing friends basking in the love surrounding them.

It’s good to end the year with renewed hope, new beginnings and memories of milestones.


Amen to that December 25, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration — mel @ 2:57 pm

“God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy. This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us.

The challenge is to let God be who he wants to be. A part of us clings to our aloneness and does not allow God to touch us where we are most in pain. Often we hide from him precisely those places in ourselves where we feel guilty, ashamed, confused, and lost. Thus we do not give him a chance to be with us where we feel most alone.

Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him-whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend-be our companion”

– Henri Nouwen


New Soul

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 7:34 am

Five days left till the year ends…the idea of starting on a new slate is always nice. This song has become an internal soundtrack ever since hearing it on Dash’s blog.

“I’m a new soul. I came to this strange world, hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take. But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear, finding myself making every possible mistake.”

I also realise that this is the soundtrack of the first Macbook Air ad last year – personally selected by Steve Jobs no less. Quite fitting since “Sweetie” has become an indispensable companion (note to self: due for digital cleansing soon).


The Way of Tea (3) December 21, 2009

Filed under: Tea for Thoughts — mel @ 5:37 pm
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Hidden austerity

Learning points:
– The complexity of this ritual creates systems which actually makes life simpler. E.g. Don’t like tea = no slurp instead of being diplomatic in a roundabout way.
– I love their beautiful round, cast iron kettles. They feel so reassuring.
– Don’t memorize, it will come naturally.
– My knees are creaky.
– Simplicity is beauty.


29 things learned from 2009 December 20, 2009

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 6:39 pm
  1. Turning 30 ain’t that bad.
  2. I am crap in playing politics so the most politically-correct thing to do is just be honest.
  3. Trust and act on that niggling feeling.
  4. I can only organise via paper….virtual sticky notes and online calendars and syncing and what-nots: forget it.
  5. When people annoy you, look at their good points.
  6. Driving in jams brings out the worst in people.
  7. I like freedom, but I also like stability and the twain seldom meet.
  8. Helping others is just as important as getting help from others.
  9. Depression makes me fat.
  10. Pretty things that aren’t too expensive make me happy.
  11. Light blue is my favourite colour – but yellow and red make things lively.
  12. Don’t apologize for being old-fashioned.
  13. There are some people just not worth listening to.
  14. There are plenty of interesting people worth listening to.
  15. Instant comforts: Hot soya bean milk, homemade lotus root soup and the addictive Sembawang bee hoon.
  16. Don’t prolong unhappiness, find ways to get out of it.
  17. Uncertainty is certain.
  18. I have too many notebooks.
  19. I love being far away from the cloned shopping malls and crowds.
  20. Never trust the papers.
  21. Tea calms me down.
  22. Too many people are not saying enough about how they really feel about life.
  23. Part-time cleaning: lifesaver.
  24. There is such a thing as too much Lego.
  25. It’s hard to have just the right amount of ego – too little and you’re a mess, too much and you’re annoying.
  26. Be grateful for the blessings.
  27. Read the Bible more – it puts this crazy, screwed-up world into perspective.
  28. My husband is a gem.
  29. Getting 8 hours of sleep every night is beneficial.

The Anomalies December 19, 2009

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 9:10 pm

While surrounded by black-tubed-dressed-girls-with-Korean-ceramic-curls-and-fake-eyelashes-perched-on-impossible-heels earlier this week at a “sociological study of the local beauty industry”, E. made the comment we definitely were the unusual ones (even after getting doused by glitter from make-up artists). And to think I had met these two lovely friends of deviation in a shuttle bus four years ago – and by “met” I mean that we were on the same bus, but were usually asleep most of the time. Later we progressed to cab comrades after the shuttle bus service ceased and would talk about art, retreats and the joys of staying at home on weekends.


The Horse and The Golden Lamb December 18, 2009

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 8:30 pm

To H.T. – I know how much you were gearing up for 2010, the year where you would meet your true love. I’m not sure how the story unfolds now on the other side, but here’s a fairytale for you, wherever you are. I realise with much regret that  I forgot to tell you how very much I appreciated all  your unconditional help the past 2 years, and yes, that I would miss you too.

Once upon a time, there was a Horse who led a very busy, busy life. He was always running around, doing things even to the wee hours of the night, and would always help others whenever they felt tired.

One day, his friends asked him, “Horse, don’t you think you should spend more time on yourself? You have to take a break and enjoy life more!” Horse felt they made a good point and he started spending more time gazing at the stars every night and suddenly felt lonely. “How nice it would be to have someone to watch the beautiful scenery with,” he pondered.

He looked around but couldn’t seem to find anyone who wanted to stargaze with him. His friends told him, “That’s because you need to groom yourself more, silly Horse!” He got his mane plaited and his hooves polished and even learned how to trot in a more gentlemanly manner. But still, no one sat next to him at night. Horse soon decided it was much better being busy again and worked and worked without any break.

One night, as Horse was toiling in the fields, there was suddenly a bright flash of light. He looked up into the sky and saw a shooting star descending towards him. As the star approached, he saw that it was actually a beautiful, golden-fleeced lamb. The Golden Lamb landed next to the Horse and said, “For a while, you were the only one who appreciated my light every night. And then you stopped. Why is it so, Horse? I’ve missed you so much that I decided that tonight, I had to come down to be with you.”

From then on, the Horse and the Golden Lamb spent the rest of their lives appreciating earth’s magnificent sights together and lived happily ever after.


T-Notes December 15, 2009

Filed under: Tea for Thoughts — mel @ 7:55 am
Tags: ,

To my delight, I discovered a  trove of big, glossy, gorgeous tea-related books at the public library. I’m reading Tea: Aromas and Flavours around the World right now and  they have information about the particular tea ceremony I’m learning about (the rote memory student in me rejoices!). For reference:

Fukusa: A small square of silk used for symbolic purification.Lots of folding and clockwise wiping.

Chasen: Small bamboo whisk that gives the macha a frothy texture.

Chawan: Tea bowl. Gorgeous things.

Chashaku: Bamboo scoop that I must handle as a very heavy object even though it is very light because it is “precious”.

Natsume: Red box containing the macha powder.

Higashi: Dry and sugary cake, of which I scattered all over the tatami mat the last lesson.

Did You Know?

– Every samurai soldier appointed a tea master to perform a purification tea ceremony for strength before a battle. (Tea ain’t for sissies yah?)

– The four principles underlying Chado: Harmony, Respect, Purity and Serenity (the synthesis of the previous three qualities).

– The design of early tea pavilions laid the foundation for contemporary Japanese architecture, which previously only took its cue from China.


The Way of Tea (2) December 11, 2009

Filed under: Tea for Thoughts — mel @ 9:57 pm
Tags: , ,

Many, many steps

Learning points from today:
a) You have to make tea with your heart (take a deep breath before starting).
b) I feel so manly and klutzy compared to Japanese women.
c) You don’t show people the waste.
d) I think I learn best with nurturing educators. Today’s sub teachers was rather fierce, and kept sucking in her breath sharply every time I made a klutzy mistake e.g. getting sweet crumbs all over the floor (long story).
e) Rituals actually have a calming effect even if some of the steps don’t have seem to have a rationale…it just is and somehow, this order brings peace.
f) Dragging yourself halfway across the room while kneeling (and attempting to look dainty while at it) to “collect” the tea is damn painful on the knees.
g) Anal alert: You can only scoop the green tea powder from the top right corner of the container.