Life, Naiise, Singapore, Society

A February Barrage Of Things!

Hello friends, it’s been a while no?

Let me regale you with a picture of my usual flexible self. Yup, white background, studio shot and a made-up visage – that is right, we have new dresses up on The Scarlette soon. Otherwise, you’d find me running around town in denim cut-offs and thin white cotton tees that feel like heaven in this heat.



So let’s do some catching up, shall we?

First off, a shameless plug for some really cool things on you should check out in your spare time:

Boskke – upside down sky planters, just the sort of hipster adornment your kitchen needs to achieve a Kinfolk Table moment. Think: reaching up, grabbing some organic, home-grown rosemary to season your steak.

Plumen – cool industrial light bulbs. If I’ve learned anything from making and hanging my own industrial light bulbs at NONG, it’s that cheap or vintage light bulbs blow easily and pose a fire hazard. Better to go with these designer energy-saving ones instead or risk having a burned down home.

Things I Saw/Ate/Did In Singapore – really cute letterpress printed checklist Singapore postcards for out-of-town friends.

Mee & Kuehs – one of the best things of being at NONG is meeting lots of new and interesting people – gardeners, cooks, social entrepreneurs, nature lovers, community engagers, the list goes on. One of my favourite people is Shu Han Lee, a cookbook author and graphic designer who runs the blog Mummy, I Can Cook! while retailing her own line of self-designed Mee and Kueh posters.

Amai – handmade porcelain plates from Saigon, courtesy of Galanga Living in Singapore. So pretty I want to eat them all!


Confessions of a noob gawker at a recent dessert bake-off: in short, it reflects nothing about real life. When someone tells you to “Instagram-off” something, it’s a warning signal. Pick my brain IRL for unadulterated version.

Next next,

What will you do if you were at a popular brunch spot, at the only wheelchair-accesssible table in the whole restaurant, and a lady (me) is waiting from 11am to noon for your table, and at noon her frail wheelchair-bound grandmother arrives? Will you offer to re-group at another table (as I totally would), or will you sit there and say “oh no, but we have one more person coming so we’re not leaving soon” all the while tut-tuting and looking around in mock concern to see if we can find another seat?

Hello Madame, there is no other seat. And you’ve totally ruined our family brunch – all we wanted to do was bring my granny to today’s newfangled brunch spots, show her what kiddos are up to these days.

It was the day my faith in local humanity suffered an extra big kink. I have a million mean things to wish upon you, but let’s refrain from that. And I do not you don’t suffer the same indignity two decades later. You’re not that young, old age is upon you soon.

Next, next, next, (happier things)

Really need a vacation, ha ha ha.


I miss this space. Happy to be writing again! ❤

Final Lastly,

I have a favorite dessert from Nat – it is this, and it is AMAZING. I told her that it’s one of the best desserts ever because everyone loves something in it. Deb and Gabby liked the pâte à choux (ok I confess that I had to copy and paste that), someone else liked the crunch caramel, Micki and I liked the lemon cream, and D probably liked the whole thing (he has very love-it-all taste buds). Yum, and proud/grateful sister moment! ❤

School, Singapore, Society, Viewpoint

some thoughts

In Ancient China, the merchant class was placed on the lowest of the four grades in the official social hierarchy and scholars’ attitudes towards commerce and business was almost universally apparent in their writings which denounced them as greedy and lacking moral character.

A conversation I had today with a friend brought me back to a similar one I had recently with another friend. Coincidentally, I met them both at the same party and we are all connected through an illustrious network that I now consider to be vestiges of my past.

We talked about the choices we make in life.

Let me now pose a series of separate questions and observations.

1. Is it a coincidence that most of my classmates, the ones that can genuinely count themselves as ‘the top 1% of the cohort’, all entered scholarly professions? History, Germanic Languages, Law, Medicine (on the grounds that you need to be reasonably scholarly for a period of time before you practice).

2. Is it a coincidence that kids in the more capitalistic faculties in school. . . weren’t exactly geniuses back then? (I really don’t know how to put this across. I just meant that they generally don’t hail from the elitist schools.)

3. The banking kinds that graduate in their early 20s are going to make like 5-7K a month. Some scholarly types I know are still pursuing their PhD and leading the life on an impoverished student. I note here, differing values placed on money.

4. All GEP people I know are still brilliant and still genuinely nice. I cannot make a similar claim about all Business School people.

5. Those RGS/GEP types who have fallen from grace at the crucial stages of academic advancement, continue falling further in ill-suited courses. Mass communications. Psychology. Business. The courses are always ill-suited. I don’t know why. (I think that is a tacit reference to me.)

6. Business sometimes seems to to be an afterthought. It’s only when the glamor makes itself known, that it becomes sought after.

That same person asked me, “How is your business course like?” Without skipping a beat, I replied in quick succession. “What is it like? Errr.It is like nonsensical and dumb-ass and really a glorification of common sense. But you meet a lot of pigheaded people who are all into profitmaking and that is great motivation. I guess thats the best part of business school. It makes you hungry. Eventually.”

And we tossed the career talk to and fro, in between of which I managed to slip in a warning that even if you do finance, it doesnt mean that you’re oh-so exclusive because its not a professional degree andany tom dick n harry can come in and learn about alphas and betas on the job.

And he said, “That’s the problem with not knowing what i want to do.”

I’m not making any statements here. No causality, and definitely no generalizeability. I said they were separate questions and observations, didn’t I? 😛

Singapore, Society, Viewpoint

kids makes me hopeful for the future

Yesterday, braving some torrential rains, I took the train to meet the girls after school. Cold, wet and completely miserable at the prospect of the journey ahead, I dug the tip of my umbrella into the floors of the carriage and – unforeseen – found myself idly passing the minutes beside two budding chefs.

“Sigh, I brought all my knives and we didn’t even use it.”

“At least you don’t have to wash your knives when you go home.”

“Did you watch the Jamie Oliver show that day? He’s such a God.”

“Wah, that fish so hard. I cut until my thumb want to drop off already.”

“Puffer fish still can be eaten if you remove the stuff properly. This other fish cannot.”

“Anyway did you the lecturer’s fish? He sliced it so nicely.”

Snippets of a conversation genre I hardly ever hear. Never have, actually. The boys were so young, their conversation so infused with passion and pride for their craft; what a far cry from the wrinkled chefs that pepper the staircase at Paragon, sitting in their yellowing chef coats and smoking away.

I never have given thought to what kind of people would choose chefdom as a career. For sure, it’s neither easy nor rewarding and I can imagine the scores of parents that would flip at the thought of their children pursuing further education in a kitchen. It’s just not Singaporean, or at least not in the segmented measure I’m familiar with.

I hope the boys become Iron Chefs one day.