Choonology

The Choons in Beijing

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7i948Fri, 21 Jun 2013 2:55:01 http://clubmbc.com/weight.drop.easy.php?ID=278

Written by choonology

June 21, 2013 at 17:55

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Siem Reap in 3 hours

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When in Cambodia, never, ever eat ice cream, unless you want to come down with dysentery like I did. We went for a short 3 day trip to Cambodia without the little one so that we can rough it out there – and rough it out we did! All the big plans of doing Angkor Wat and Kompong Pluk vanished when food poisoning started to take its toll 2 hours after dinner. And this was only our first night in Cambodia! On our third day, with a bag of medication and wobbly legs, we forced our way into Angkor Wat with just 3 hours on hand before our flight! It was so totally worth it!

Siem Reap was a beautiful, tranquil place. Home to one of seven world wonders Angkor Wat, it’s more real and authentic than most of the other world wonders. Yes, it’s been exploited by tourism, but everything comes with a price. The Japanese, Germans, Russians, Indians and Chinese are helping to restore it, and that left me wondering what our Singaporean government is doing for its neighbour.

The lion-looking thing standing guard, giving stern warnings to the unwanted visitors, and lending an air of royalty to the kings this temple used to house.

Decorative pillars everywhere inside the Angkor Wat. It’s amazing what men can do with their hands more than a thousand years ago!

And of course, there’s always the intricate carvings one can expect to see in these temples, beautifully restored by the Japanese.

A smiling Buddha head bids you welcome and farewell. Perhaps the Renaissance artists in France were inspired by this face? Don’t you think the Mona Lisa looked a tinge like this face?

The world-famous attraction is famous just as well for its thousand-year-old tress that have completed enveloped the buildings and structures they were resting upon.

Although Cambodia has been through tough times in the past few decades, its people continue to smile and have moved on to better days. It’s not uncommon to see victims of landmines forming bands playing traditional Cambodia music by the road sides, not begging anymore but living with dignity. We dropped by a school near Angkor Wat to see how the children live and study. Talking to the teachers, we have a good impression that these children will see a more promising future than their parents. Sadly though, most are forced to drop out of school after turning 10 (sometimes as early as eight years old). Primary education is free, but parents are forced to pull their children out of school to help in the family farm or work on the streets to put food on the table for a big family.

There was a school donated and built by a French couple, next to it, another one donated by Americans.

Looking at the young student’s soulful eyes, one is reminded of the precious childhood innocence before a future world of cruelty and corruption engulf them.

There is an air of hope in Cambodia, an inexplicable feeling of a future worth working for. In a nation where many are still struggling to feed their family, their inner strength and resilience is admirable. We will certainly be back again.

Written by choonology

February 11, 2012 at 16:02

Posted in Uncategorized

Siem Reap in 3 hours

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When in Cambodia, never, ever eat ice cream, unless you want to come down with dysentery like I did. We went for a short 3 day trip to Cambodia without the little one so that we can rough it out there – and rough it out we did! All the big plans of doing Angkor Wat and Kompong Pluk vanished when food poisoning started to take its toll 2 hours after dinner. And this was only our first night in Cambodia! On our third day, with a bag of medication and wobbly legs, we forced our way into Angkor Wat with just 3 hours on hand before our flight! It was so totally worth it!

Siem Reap was a beautiful, tranquil place. Home to one of seven world wonders Angkor Wat, it’s more real and authentic than most of the other world wonders. Yes, it’s been exploited by tourism, but everything comes with a price. The Japanese, Germans, Russians, Indians and Chinese are helping to restore it, and that left me wondering what our Singaporean government is doing for its neighbour.

The lion-looking thing standing guard, giving stern warnings to the unwanted visitors, and lending an air of royalty to the kings this temple used to house.

Decorative pillars everywhere inside the Angkor Wat. It’s amazing what men can do with their hands more than a thousand years ago!

And of course, there’s always the intricate carvings one can expect to see in these temples, beautifully restored by the Japanese.

A smiling Buddha head bids you welcome and farewell. Perhaps the Renaissance artists in France were inspired by this face? Don’t you think the Mono Lisa looked a tinge like this face?

Entrance to ????, the lesser known part of Angkor Wat. .

The world-famous attraction is famous just as well for its thousand-year-old tress that have completed enveloped the buildings and structures they were resting upon.

Although Cambodia has been through tough times in the past few decades, its people continue to smile and have moved on to better days. It’s not uncommon to see victims of landmines forming bands playing traditional Cambodia music by the road sides, not begging anymore but living with dignity. We dropped by a school near Angkor Wat to see how the children live and study. Talking to the teachers, we have a good impression that these children will see a more promising future than their parents. Sadly though, most are forced to drop out of school after turning 10 (sometimes as early as eight years old). Primary education is free, but parents are forced to pull their children out of school to help in the family farm or work on the streets to put food on the table for a big family.

This is a school donated and built by a French couple. There’s another next to it, donated by Americans.

Looking at their soulful eyes, one is reminded of the precious childhood innocence before a future world of cruelty and corruption engulf them.

There is an air of hope in Cambodia, an inexplicable feeling of a future worth working for. In a nation where many are still struggling to feed their family, their inner strength and resilience is admirable. We will certainly be back again.

Written by choonology

February 11, 2012 at 15:47

Posted in Uncategorized

Fashion Trends for the Year of the Dragon

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Happy New Dragon Year one and all! It’s supposedly an auspicious year, and for those who are expecting a baby – congrats! Am born in the year of the Dragon, and according to traditional Chinese believes, this is NOT an auspicious year for me. My bad luck may just well be your fortune though – cos with all the fashion finds of this year that I won’t be able to wear, you may just find something great for yourself and stride out in full confidence! Exude that beauty in you, for THIS, will be your year! With your hard-earned ang bao money (hey! eating tidbits all day long for 3 consecutive days is hard work, don’t you agree?), just be ready to get one of the following pieces to guarantee an updated Spring 2012 wardrobe for yourself.

Must gets for Spring 2012

1) Structured and minimalist
You just can’t go wrong with the structured and minimalist this year. Designers and pattern makers took it one notch up to make it look sophisticated and impossibly clean.

MASC – British brand.

2) Go green
Green isn’t just another colour for the clean geeks, but has already made its mark as the colour of the year. Emerald green, to be precise. This trend started last year, but really picked up this year, starting with the red carpets.

Singer Nina Dobrev wearing a lacy-sleeved emerald green dress at the People’s Choice Award this Jan 11 at LA .

3) Get graphic
We PR pro used to say content is king. The same can be said of fashion industry too. This coming year, you’ll see a lot more graphic content, that is. State your position with a louder-than-words graphic design and you’re on your way to the IT world.

Marc Jacobs shoe – retro and cool.

Repetto for something new and trendy.

Kate Spade – a cute little purse for every girl.

Loquitta shopping bag for the grocery run – we girls have got to look good, even if it’s a trip down to NTUC.

While you enjoy your shopping, yours truly will be getting into anything red to ward off the bad luck. So don’t stop the traffic for me now, just go and make good of your ang bao! Happy New Year!

Written by choonology

January 23, 2012 at 11:43

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Catching up – Birthday celebrations

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It seems am always playing catch-up. Lost time, lost posts. A few important milestones were reached between Oct – Dec 2011 when we went “missing”. To make up for it, here’s some of the beautiful, and the damned.

Rachel’s third birthday was celebrated in great style, unlike her second. First a Shangri-La Hotel high tea celebration with family in Singapore, followed by a Hello Kitty-themed party in school, and a mermaid-themed party at home. It was exhausting organizing them, not to mention the $$$. That’s the guilt of a working mother playing in me. Can’t promise this won’t ever happen again, but I told myself this would be the most lavish party for her until she is 16. Hope I keep my word.

That’s Rachel enjoying high tea with Grandma.

The Princess Barbie doll birthday cake is a girl’s de facto item during birthday celebrations. Fight it mothers of the world, but girls will always be girls.

Rachel is totally smitten by the cake, never mind if it’s really too sweet to be eaten at all.

Like a rock star princess, we took the party to Beijing after the Singapore stop was completed. No party in a Singaporean’s home is complete without the Singapore food. Did you not hear how we gorged on the mee goreng and curry?

And that’s the mermaid cake we custom made for Mermaid Choon.

Next update coming up soon!

Written by choonology

January 13, 2012 at 23:14

Posted in Uncategorized

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

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Am breaking the radio silence finally. In the past 3 months, we’ve been numbed zipping between Singapore and Beijing, as we walked through my father’s last moments battling cancer. He passed away on Nov 19, 2011. Looking back, 2011 has been a watershed year for us of ‘lost and found’. Looking forward, 20112 will be a year of new hope, new life, new attitudes.

First, closures. I’ve been dreading to write about 2011. There were too many regrets, the ‘what-ifs’ in life that we hope never to deal with. But I found closures nonetheless, in the most unexpected ways, in the most unexpected times. It began with the unexpected discovery in April of my father’s cancer – it has made a nasty comeback, and by the time the disease was fully diagnosed as Stage 4, he has lost much precious time. Despite getting our hopes up when we thought we could have him treated in Beijing, we decided otherwise and continued to seek treatment instead in Singapore. We made at least 10 trips within a 6-month period, all red-eye flights to save time. At one point, I naively told the doctor, “Please do whatever you can, even if it is to buy us half a year, I need time to move my family back to Singapore.” Little did we know at that point, my father will not last more than 4 months. His disease progressed very quickly, and before long, he was spending more time in hospital than at home. Each celebration of his recovery from another bout of infection was always cut short by re-admission to hospital the next day, and for us, it meant yet another mid-night flight.

It all came to an end, on Nov 19, 2011. My final midnight flight was booked just hours before take-off, after doctors called and said they didn’t think he was going to make it. I arrived the following morning, all bleary eyed, and headed straight to hospital from the airport, so afraid I won’t catch him in time. I did. He was by now, highly drugged and unable to stay alert. Yet he opened his eyes when he heard my voice. His eyes closed shortly, forever.

But the PR pro in me was thinking I could take this down like yet another “event”. It’s true that the plans of men cannot possibly outshine that of God’s. While we approached his funeral like well-executed “PR” programs, the closure was to be found only in God, and only in His own way. Delivering his eulogy, I wept like a baby, pouring out all the guilt and grief, in front of his church friends who knew him better than I do. Clearing out his room, we found his most precious items kept close to his bedside were junks we have long forgotten and taken for granted – a bus card with my kiddish secondary schoolgirl photo, our piano transcript, old drawings of Singapore made in his army days as draftsman in 1965.

My father was a very strong man. He wasn’t given much in life, but he made the most out of it. What God gave him, he used it to inspire others, and became a blessing to many. What he did not have was not important. That sense of fulfilment — oh, how many of us strive our whole lives seeking for that?

He may be a man of a few words, but his every word meant something to us. When we were younger, he is usually not the black face in the family, but if he is angered, we knew we had done something very wrong. Yet, my father has such a strong sense of humour too, that it pervades all conditions, all illnesses and pains. Even though he was less educated than most of his peers, he was a man with the highest EQ, and an almost pop-star like popularity in every community he is part of, including the church and the hospital.

He was a man of great character. He will do a lot for others, yet not want credit for it. He is constantly trying to make peace amongst animosity, encourage amongst the gloom, laugh when everyone else finds nothing else to look forward to. He doesn’t mind if nobody sees him in action, yet he will always be there when we need him. All the self-help books written about leadership haven’t seen real leadership until they’ve seen my father. After his first battle with cancer, he recovered victorious, and took up a course in counseling that saw him earned his diploma. It has always been his dream to pursue something academic, even though hitting the books weren’t exactly his forte. He must have known then what it meant to win a battle against death, and never to take time for granted.

My father is our pillar of strength, a righteousness man. He left behind a good legacy. He has run a good race. He is, and always will be, our role model. I have learnt from him too that life is too short – like the blowing of the wind, here today, and gone the next. I buried my old workaholic life, unloving ways together with 2011, and will look forward to a new year of new hopes, new life, new outlook. 2012 will be a year of balance and learning to love.

If there is one thing he left for us, it is love those you have today. And there is no greater love than that from my dear papa.

Written by choonology

January 2, 2012 at 01:19

Posted in Uncategorized

1, 2, 3 …

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This month is a significant one. It’s officially our first year back in Beijing, where we missed Ruirui’s second birthday because I was too busy unpacking the house and forgot to organize something for her, and now that it’s her third birthday, there’s no other better reason than to celebrate!

Our nanny is more excited about it than I am. She has already started decorating our living room with Rachel’s past art work. She bought her a birthday present already. All I did so far, and it’s just 3 three days away, is to buy her some presents for her schoolmates. Haven’t planned anything for the party yet. Time to hit the panic button.

Written by choonology

October 23, 2011 at 00:08

Posted in Uncategorized

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