What playing competitive sports taught me

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Watching competitive sports always spurs something in me. Once upon a time I actually thought that it was a waste of time playing any sport recreationally. Why put in so much effort in something to do it for “fun”? And at that point I truly believed that I could excel in something that I liked.

It has been almost a decade since I played competitive netball and oh, those glorious days. We were such an awesome team in secondary school, going through all the tough training camps and drills together, we really shared literally blood sweat and tears. I think I was physically suited to play netball, being tall and I could run relatively quick at that time. Wow, those days when the whole school cheered for us during the finals and how we achieved 4th in the nationals for an unknown school, it was surreal. Best of all, I also made it to the age group national team. Those young, glorious days!

Fast forward to the present, exercise now has become an avenue to destress. I still think about some of the mind games and strategies I used to write down in this small little book that I had, and also the ‘mental strength’ course that I attended that taught me how to keep calm during critical moments.

Playing competitive sports taught me many things. Firstly, teamwork. Make full use of your strengths, your team mates’ strengths and complement each other when there are cracks or weaknesses. Though in a work context it is definitely difficult to trust your team mate completely, it will take some time, but it will definitely be a dream team!

Secondly, never give up and when you fail, appreciate the process. This to me applies most in a dating or love context when I was younger. There are times that you want to make sure you put in your best shot, but sometimes things don’t work out but you know you tried. When I grew up, I thought this applied to people who became ill, or even if health becomes an obstacle for me one day, I will abide to this.

Thirdly, have a goal and go for it. I honestly have not really done this to a 100% but I aspire to do this. The court is yours, the game is yours to play and how you want to play it. My high school and junior college coaches had totally different styles. The former being very “waterfall” (work has influenced me to use this term hahaha omg) and step by step where we execute the different tactics according to what she wanted us to do. The latter being very “agile” because at that time she was new to netball and had a basketball background. I felt that the combination of both made it really cool. I had a solid background and it was time to just play my own game. I never told anyone but on the bus to Kallang netball centre I would listen to “unbelievable” by Craig David, and then on court on my good days I would play it just for fun. Not that it’s just ‘for fun’, but I would see how I could just manipulate my opponent. Oh and my team mates were strong enough to depend on to execute whatever we wanted.

I guess this is the same for life. On one hand you got to put in the hard work, put in the basics, work on it, and then just, rule it. Haha of course, it is easier said than done and I haven’t really felt like that since I stepped on a netball court many many years ago. But I guess stemming from my competitive sports background, I truly believe in myself in most things that I do. (Very important when working because of terrible people that you’ll meet!)

Now let me leave you with a song that my netball teacher played on screen to hype us up:

May you SHINE in your own way!

What I thought life would be

I always thought I would have a window with a view like this while I lived overseas

Looking at the On This Day pictures brought back many memories. 13 years ago I was hanging out with the gang at Dempsey. 11 years ago I was spending summer in Hong Kong. 10 years ago I was lamenting on how I had no more friends in school since everyone had graduated the past semester. 8 years back there was a photograph of my first long term real job and 3 years back a video of work and how my work allowed me to start work later because England was playing someone during the World Cup. Fast forward to today, I am still rooting for England to win Euro 2020.

These memories inspired a thought – Am I far from what I thought life would be?

Many moons ago I wrote a blog post and I talked about how I would imagine my ideal life would be like. Marketing job, drinks and dinner with friends at night, had my own apartment with a partner. Kids after 30. To be honest I didn’t put much thought in it, or took steps to achieve it.

Now if this is a checkpoint where I grade myself through an imaginary scorecard, I must say that firstly, I got where I wanted to in terms of my job. I got to try several industries and it seems like I have some autonomy to do what I want in terms of creativity. I also had/have opportunities to meet some important people and have unique experiences.

Life wise, I think I did pretty good by having kids young. Though they contribute to my general angst that probably is not ideal, but I am trying my best to be more zen. I do not like sharing my house with other people, but that is something that I have to tolerate for the foreseeable future, regrettably.

I guess my only real regret is not exploring out of the country, moving to a new place and being on my own for a longer period of time. Since being attached since college, there hasn’t been any me time so that is something I can work on. But you’ll never know, maybe I’ll take a job overseas sometime. Maybe I can find myself and my identity – this has been on my mind actually but it’s really complex with the many roles I have to play during work, outside work, in the home, with friends etc. Even finding friends with similar experiences is getting more difficult and I guess that’s why people drift apart but this is another story.

For now, I’ll like to give thanks to what I have! Hopefully my scoresheet will be pretty awesome when I check back in ten years!

Three things I thought after watching Friends: The Reunion

All those feels after watching that group of five

To be honest, I was one of those cheapos who downloaded HBO Max and subscribed through a trial just to watch Friends, The Reunion. I was particularly relieved that it wasn’t a hoax when the news of the reunion started circling social media. All those feels before, during, and after watching the show. Here are three main takeaways for me after watching.

Awww Ross and Rachel

The most obvious and in some way shocking revelation was the chemistry between Ross and Rachel, played by David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, and the fact that they could have become an off-screen couple. Awww those behind-the-scenes footage especially the lingering hug at the end of the shoot during the season finale. “It was like two ships passing, because one of us was always in a relationship, and we never crossed that boundary. We respected that,” Schwimmer said. But I guess it’s hard to compete when your love rival is Brad Pitt, so… To be honest, Ross and Rachel weren’t my favourite couple on the show but I really liked them individually. This revelation on the reunion definitely added a new dimension to ‘Roschel’ and yes, I googled if both of them are currently single in real life! *fingers crossed*

Big Cringe during Smelly Cat

It was weird watching this part of the show. Why is Lady Gaga involved? Why is Phoebe being overshadowed by Lady Gaga? Why does Phoebe look so uncomfortable? It will be nice if they brought back the triplets, and they could have played or sang smelly cat with their surrogate mother/aunt! There was another really weird part… the fashion show with random guests but at least it ended with Joey!

Heart-warming scenes

Many other roles contributed to the success of friends like the rather annoying parents of the Gellar family and the ‘oh-my-gawd’ Janice! It was nice to see them on screen although it was for a short moment. I was quite a fan of Gunther and once wrote a short commentary to a magazine on him. He looked so different, and awwww, that unrequited love for Rachel!

For those who want a bit more of Friends, check this out –

James Corden visits the cast at the Friends Reunion!

Life

Even when I was young I was really paranoid. When I was ten, my parents brought my whole family on a cruise. Before going on that trip, I wrote a letter to my loved ones, in case I don’t make it back. It was to my family, my best friends at that time, and thankfully I made it back.

When it was in year 1999, I made my parents stockpile and prepare for Y2K where computers and transport would supposedly go haywire. Thankfully again, it did not.

With life throwing so many curveballs, who knows what will happen. Sometimes you get news of someone getting some illness, someone even an acquaintance involved in an accident makes you go omg. And of course, year 2020 was not encouraging.

I guess what we can do is to live life to the fullest everyday. I’m not saying quit your job and just do what you want but put effort into things that you do. Get the sense of accomplishment. Cherish the moments with your family. Watch your kids grow up. For me, planning birthdays and events are the most fun when it comes to family events.

Oh I really hope I can watch my kids grow up in a healthy, loving family.

Love you always if you’re reading this someday. ❤️

Till we meet again

One of the greatest pains come from loss, the loss of love; the loss of life; and one in particular, the loss of a loved one. The unimaginable pain of losing a child and the process of him or her slipping away. The courage of the parents; the inconsolable heartache; the helplessness of those around who care but can do nothing to alleviate this pain.

Sadly, this is not the first time I know of someone whose kid has passed away. This is particularly close to heart because he was one of my godsons, and the kid of my best friend.

Even before his birth, they knew of his condition but chose to give him a fighting chance. For this, I am in awe of his parents’ courage and love. In my opinion, they should never be guilty that they have chosen to keep him and have really done their best to give him a comfortable and loving home the past 1+ year. Know that we love you and will remember you always with your grouchy face and cool hairstyle. :’)

It’s not my place to write about their story.

So I will keep this short. I hope you’re watching over your family in this time of grief and give them the courage to get through their loss. ❤️

Hello 2021

2021 is the start of new beginnings. For me, it’s the start of a new job, which probably means the start of many new things. Getting to know new people, new work routes, new lunch places. Something that I brought over from New Year’s Eve though is my newfound old interest of reading.

In recent years, I realised that people have a different impression of how I was during my schooling years. Most recently someone expressed surprise that I was actually reading something / bought a book. It was pretty harmless but that set me thinking – what kind of image was I portraying to people?

During university I was called “bimbo” a few times by a few guys. To be honest the positive side of me thought that as a compliment, and perhaps it was the group that I hung out with. Personally I felt that it was also kind of sexist because I was labelled that because I chose not to go to school in a school shirt and shorts. And it was highly correlated to the faculty that I was in – Arts and Social Sciences.

Even up till this day I get “mansplained” oh so often. From people that I think have a lower understanding of the subject, just because they think that I do not understand that? Oh and how the topic changes when in a group they start talking to me. Sigh, I think that in 2021 I should seriously level up my intelligence as well as show others what I actually think about. Although I say I like to imagine clouds in the sky and be zen about it, doesn’t mean my brain is mush!

Back to the reading stuff, I have started to read about 1) Budgeting. Actually it is an ongoing process that I need to refresh on but this time moving on from personal finances to more investment related topics. I have also been asking friends on what they have been doing as a guide. You know, reading some stuff doesn’t mean it works for you, so I guess personal experiences do matter for this.

2) The power of habits. As an inquisitive individual, haha a more polite way of saying I am kaypoh, I am always thinking about how people achieve certain things in life. Habits and behavioural science seem to be the answer to this. And to be honest this should come easy to me having lived at least 20 years military style due to my dad’s parenting style. I think this applies to many areas apart from work, life – having a healthy lifestyle, work life balance. There’s more that I hope I can share in the future.

3) The power of positivity and mindfulness. Weirdly going through the ups and downs of my last job made me understand that there’s more to the daily grind of the rat race. How positivity and mindfulness is so important in creating a balance – and to this, an extent religion for me. In 2021, these are some areas that I like to work on.

Okay apart from all this serious stuff, I seem to gain a little bit more confidence in the kitchen so I will be a little preoccupied with exercising, cooking/baking, and forcing the kiddos to study.

Hello 2021!

A letter to my kiddos, probably the first of many

Dear M&M,

Year 2020 is revealing itself to be a chaotic year. When you ‘google’ (hopefully still a term for ‘search’) this year, you will see lots of negative news like the worldwide pandemic called COVID-19, the sudden passing of many well-known people, and it has also been a personal struggle for your mommy me (health wise and job wise, more about that next time).

I have always been someone who thought about death, and thought about how one can prepare for it. At age 10, before going for my first and only cruise trip, I actually wrote a letter to thank my parents and listed my friends. I wished to live longer when I was young, afraid that I would have an untimely demise due to childhood illness or an accident. In summary, I was or am, pretty paranoid in many cases. It is to note that many of the things that I was paranoid as a child came true – for example, someone falling into the train tracks at a particular MRT station; people falling down the escalator; and other accidents I shall not name.

The first person that I lost who was close to me was my maternal grandfather, also known as my ah gong (1). His passing was quite surreal, because my cousin supposedly visited one day before he passed and in general he was not exactly in the best of health. It didn’t affect me that much, as I wasn’t that close to him. But he was the first loss that I experienced, and the first time is usually something you remember the most or significantly.

I could go on and on about this especially after losing my paternal grandparents in the span of a few years (2008 and 2010) that I was really close to but that is not the main point in this letter.

My first point to you is that :

Although mommy should be with you at least till you are older (like 30 and beyond, hopefully), I will always love you. We can always cherish the memories that we have together and even without me you will find the strength and love to grow up happily, healthily and with kindess. It is about having faith that I am around you somehow, perhaps through a memory, so you can hold on to that even when I am not physically around. It should shape you for the better, and you will always have siblings and other family members, and even close friends to rely on. 🙂

My second point to you is that:

Live your life, take chances – No one actually knows about life fully, so to be honest I think people who seem to have their shit together is just being bullshit / acting very well. HAHA – of course some do have a better inkling than others, but if you keep to good values, e.g. kindness, not cheating people, not doing bad deeds – you are on the right track. Do you need to be the BEST? If you want to. Do you need to be the star runner? If you have the passion to be. At my age (32, not that old), it feels that there is no right or wrong in how you want to live your life. Take a chance, give it a shot – especially if you know what you have passion in. If you can do it, great! If you can’t do it, so what? It is really up to you – I’m saying this with the basis that I think you truly understand what is great for you and not at the point where you are an angsty teenager who wants to run away from school. (*prays*)

My third point to you is that:

Have faith (in a religion that is legit), and be close to your family (& friends if you have loyal ones). While in your youth friends seem to make up your world, you will see yourself moving away from your friends, just because – work, moving apart geographically, moving apart in life stage. Sometimes when it gets tough, it doesn’t hurt to have faith – if you don’t have a friend to talk to, having faith and speaking to God will definitely help. I am not pushing you to have any particular religion, because this is something you need to discover.

That’s all for letter 1 – let’s see if we can keep this up.

Love you always,

Mommy

3 fan-favourites for the Netflix newbie

Did you recently jump on the Netflix bandwagon and feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of shows to watch? Are you looking to catch up on some fan favourites that your friends have been talking about? Since many of us are now stuck at home, it’s the best time to check out these 3 shows from the ‘90s and ‘00s!

  1. Friends (1994 – 2004)

The classic ‘90s TV show about a group of five friends across 10 seasons will keep you entertained for awhile. Set in New York, Ross, Rachael, Monica, Chandler and Joey encounter everyday issues in their 20’s and later early 30’s – love, marriage, kids, work, loss, you get my drift. The show ended in 2004 which is almost two decades ago (shocking how time flies), but remains relatable to this day. Spend some time to catch the first season, and you will understand why so many people have been hooked onto this show.

Fun fact: They’re actually planning a reunion at the end of 2020, so now’s a good time to start your Friends marathon! More here: https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/friends-reunion-special-hbo-max-taping-1234603535/

  • How I Met Your Mother (2005 – 2014)

The show was, wait for it, legendary! Okay you have to have watched this before understand the meaning behind Barney Stinson, well-known playboy’s catchphrase. Interestingly, HIMYM was modelled after Friends, and also, with a group of five people. College sweet hearts Marshall and Lily; Canadian Robin; Playboy Barney and Ted Mosby, an architect who is recounting the story of how he met the mother of his kids to his two children. As the series was created more recently (though the last episode was aired almost 7 years ago), you might be able to identify their special guests better e.g. Britney Spears! The show also usually starts with Ted telling the story to his kids, and finally ends with Ted marrying their mother. Guess who? Watch to find out!

Which show actually fared better? https://www.tvfanatic.com/2020/07/battle-of-the-shows-friends-vs-how-i-met-your-mother/

  • Gossip Girl (2007 – 2012)

To be honest, not everyone will like this show, but my girlfriends and I were huge fans. Based off the novel of the same name, Gossip Girl is about high school students living at the Upper East Side, living a glamourous life. And like most teen shows, there was a lot of drama, especially through a blogger website ‘Gossip Girl’ – whose identity was revealed at the end. The show was not only about the plot, which felt kind of draggy at the last few seasons but improved at the end. The show was more about high society, the glitz and glamour, the fashion and of course very good-looking actors and actresses e.g. Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, and Ed Westwick. And you know what? People are still talking about them now – https://screenrant.com/gossip-girl-chuck-bass-problematic/

Hope you like them!

Having a baby in Singapore 101

Congratulations! You are having a baby for the first time! It might be daunting for youespecially with tons and tons of information online. Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide for you that might help you with your pregnancy journey.

  1. Choose a doctor

After that pee test, look for a doctor who is able to confirm that you are indeed expecting. It’s always reassuring to ‘double-confirm’ this happy news. First steps though, are you going the public or private route? For me who’s undecided at first, I spent almost 1.5 hours waiting for the polyclinic doctor to take the pee test again just to choose the private route for my second baby as well (like my first). Ironically, for my first gynae who did not allow appointments, I also spent the same amount of time waiting to see her though I spent an exorbitant amount of money because she didn’t have “packages” available too. For my second gynae, he was really efficient so the wait was really short. I highly recommend Dr. Benjamin Tham from Thomson Medical, and I have at least 5 other friends who went to see him!

  • 2. Plan a timeline

Are you superstitious and will not announce your pregnancy till after the 3-month period? Does your workplace need to find a maternity replacement for you? What are the items that you need to buy? What is your budget? What’s your birth plan? Do you need a confinement nanny or will confinement food delivery do?

Sit down with your partner to talk about a good timeline for you. Book your hospital maternity tours(to take a look at the environments and delivery suites), though this will largely depend on which doctor you are choosing because they do not deliver at all hospitals! Apart from the hospital tours, you can also look at antenatal classes. For my first child, I delivered at Mount Alvernia Hospital. For the second, I was at Thomson Medical. Both were really great, nurses were attentive and caring, to be honest I thought the environment at Mount A was a little better because it felt bigger.

  • 3. Baby stuff checklist

While I bought mostly new stuff for both of my kids, you can save a lot if you get clothes (which babies outgrow quickly anyway) or even big ticket items like cots and baby car seats from family and friends. Here’s a good checklist to have.

For me I created so many lists, which was only helpful to an extent. Since everything is easily available, buy what you need. I also did some research online on brands that are best for babies e.g. California Baby Shower Gel, Similac Formula Milk, Pampers etc.

In my head I visualised how I would take care of my baby and what I needed. For example, baby in baby cot cries, is it accessible for me to change his or her diapers? Where should I place the bottles and milk? If I need to breastfeed the baby should I save the milk in the freezer and is it easy for me to warm it up at night? Do remember though, you will need to plan for yourself too. Both my babies were delivered through c-sect, so it was difficult to bend. Make sure you have a short stool for you to sit while bathing the baby in a bath tub. Or a high enough bed.

Summary:

  • Find a doctor, go for regular check -ups, confirm the hospital that you’re delivering at, look at your budgeting (remember, you get baby bonus too so it’s not too bad!)
  • Start on antenatal classes and yoga classes to keep fit.
  • Notify your bosses and colleagues early if necessary.
  • Start getting baby stuff, and make sure you visualise the process of how and what should be done.
  • Confirm your confinement nanny or help/delivery food services that you’re going to get.
  • Be clear of government initiatives : Baby Bonus, Maternity leave entitlements, how to register your child at infant care
  • Confirm your birth plan, and pack your hospital bag (actually it was nothing much for me apart from the breast pump and clothes).
  • Decide if you will like to take maternity leave early.
  • Have a baby shower, before the baby, if you’re westernised!
  • Make sure you have support at home once the baby is out!

Jumpstart your Job search

It’s a terrible time to be out of job – The threats of COVID-19 and the whole lockdown situation has made it worse. Many people have sent across job portals and compilations of virtual job fairs to me, and it seems like many of these positions are on contract or temporary basis. Finding a job is a complex mission. Not dissing non-permanent jobs, because all of us have things that we’re good at or trained for, and it’s important we have a source of income right now. For starters, I hope I can do a small part by sharing some tips to get the job you want.

  1. Have a good resume

First impressions definitely count. Having a good resume is number one on everyone’s list – but what is a good resume? Although I am not part of HR or a recruiter, having worked for almost 10 years now and in the communications function, it is important for a resume to be clear, and concise. A resume should not be longer than two pages, unless you are applying to become a professor and has to list down all the papers that you have published. Apart from a personal summary, highlight key achievements of each position. Customise your resume according to the job ad, listing down keywords that are applicable to the job that you are applying to. E.g. If the job ad requires supervisory experience, make sure that your leadership skills are reflected in your resume, with examples of what you have done.

Moving away from content, if you are applying for a job in the creative industry, check out tools like Canva that can help beautify your resume. If you need more information on writing a good resume, there are other resources that give a deep dive into what makes one.

  • 2. Use online platforms

Moving on to number 2, using online platforms. This may seem really simple – just log on to the websites and apply for jobs. But what are the platforms that you should look out for? Personally, I recommend these two job portals for private-sector jobs: Jobstreet and MyCareerFutures. For Jobstreet, the platform is easy to use, and you can apply for jobs with just a click. You may argue that you get quite a bit of competition doing that since the process is so simple. Next, for MyCareerFutures, it is government-backed, so the jobs are legitimate. I have used both, and have recommended these platforms to my friends who have gotten jobs through this. Even if you do not find jobs that are to your liking, it is also a good way to meet recruiters who often post job ads on these platforms.

  • 3. Speak to recruiters

That brings me to my third point which is to speak to recruiters directly. Recruiters are powerful people especially during your job hunt. What they can do is firstly, give you first-hand information on how a hiring manager is, or if the turnover rate is high. Speaking to recruiters also give you access to a handful of jobs that are already relevant to your profile. What I recommend is to build up a Linkedin profile to connect to recruiters in your industry. It helps if your connections endorse your profile as well, so you seem more credible!

All the best in your job search!