Hard Lessons of Frugality

Aside from building a brand new life alone after the divorce, one of the most difficult lessons (rather, on-going challenges) is frugality. This is such an alien concept to me because I grew up as a privileged expat child who never had to worry about the cost of things. I learned to indulge in the finer things in life from an early age, as most expat children do, because Daddy could always afford it or the company paid for it. Saving up for something was never in my cards, because if my parents wouldn’t get it for me, grandmother would,…

Celebrate, not Define!

celebrate instead of define. One phrase stood out this morning during mass: We tend to waste far too much valuable time defining our roles, relationships, personalities, failures, achievements, goals instead of celebrating them. I stared at the Dominican priest as if he suddenly sprouted three purple dragon heads. Those three words hit me right where it needed to, as I have been in an emotional slump these past few days, battling some unwanted demons of my past. He was absolutely right – I have spent the last five decades listening to roles being defined for me, my life being defined…

“Have You Googled It?”

Gather around the virtual fireplace children, and let me tell you a story… Once upon a time, many bites ago, in a long-forgotten analog world, humans used to gather around tables or camp fires and have conversations about life, family, school, work and the burdens of the soul. Families had home-cooked meals together, parties were organised through invitations, soirees required pearls, ties and heels, and the grandparents were not dumped in nursing homes. Lurking in the nearby dark forest of Technology lived the beast called Internet. There was a myriad of magnificent myths and legends that surrounded this monster who…

To Binge or Not To Binge,

Whether you are a Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Iflix, Maxdome, or whatever movie and TV series streaming platform you choose, you will always stumble on something that is binge-worthy. To each his or her own and regardless of genre or era, there is definitely no walking away empty-handed. On such binge-days, I take the opportunity to catch up on items that the internet is raving about, or sometimes even just the colleagues at work. There may be a generation gap from time to tome, but quality movies with a decent or excellent script are non-negotiable standards. Often I find that…

Conversations with Buddha: 84,000 ways to suffer

As I sat at my desk this morning, hands wrapped around a deliciously strong cup of coffee, I stared in horror at the calendar. Friday. What?! I blinked on Monday morning and suddenly it is Friday already? Geez. Is it the ageing process that suddenly makes time pass faster? Let me rewind a bit and go back to last Sunday because it meant a lot to me. As I sat at my desk this morning, hands wrapped around a deliciously strong cup of coffee, I stared in horror at the calendar. Friday. What?! I blinked on Monday morning and suddenly…

Commuter Adventures: Tattoos, Torn Jeans & Ticket Police

Maybe it is a generation gap or my conservative Asian upbringing, perhaps even the fact that I lived in cities where tattoos were usually associated with street gangs and crime, but I have trouble accepting the full-limb tattoos that seem to be very common these days. If people choose to tattoo their chest or backs and these parts remain covered for the better part of the day, I don’t really care. But I find it very disturbing when I have entire arms, legs, necks and hands fully tattooed facing me. Getting a tattoo is a very personal choice, and it…

Ikebana: A Return to Minimalism

A few months ago I lashed out at the concept of flower photography and why it should be banned. My opinion on the matter hasn’t budged, but before you think that I had a change of heart, let me clarify that the photographs included are to illustrate the art of Ikebana, and not to portray the flowers as such. The year was 1986, and after a disastrous first semester of university in the USA, I was sent home by my foster parents, shattering my dreams of studying journalism at the University of Missouri, to which I had already been accepted,…