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who am i

Name: modgurl
Location: Singapore

New mom. New woman. Born in Singapore. Raised in the World Wide Web.
Sunday, March 29, 2015 @ 10:12 am
10 Commandments For A Smart And Simple Life

Dear Blogger,

Today is the last day of national mourning for the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. People have already lined up along the procession route since the break of dawn. As for me, I still have mommy duties and student assignments and all the mundane things in my life to do. Just goes to show that the world still spins no matter who dies.

Every death calls for a reflection. What have I done with my life? How can I make my existence more meaningful? Looking back, I've done quite a lot already. Not as newsworthy as some people have done but on my own capacity, I should be proud for what I have achieved.

Kathy Gottberg from Huffington Post has written a practical list on how to be happy. She lives a minimal lifestyle, something that most Singaporeans can learn from. Seriously, how many mobile phones do Singaporeans need??? I should ask myself that. I have an iPhone 4, 5 and 6, all in working condition. Anyway, I digress.

Here's Kathy's list, but for more details, read her article in Huffington Post.

10 Commandments For A Smart And Simple Life

  1. You get to make it up

  2. The best things in life aren't things

  3. Less is more

  4. Debt is the worst poverty

  5. What you appreciate - appreciate

  6. Comparison is the thief of joy

  7. Treasure your relationships not possessions

  8. Slow down and stop the addiction to busy-ness

  9. There is no Planet B

  10. Life is short - do what matters


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Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 11:35 pm
Whispers Underground

Dear Blogger,

Woohoo! Finished reading the 3rd book of the Rivers of London series! More importantly, I'm way ahead of my one book a month goal! Thanks to Ben Aaronovitch.

Whispers Underground brings apprentice wizard and Metropolitan Police Service Constable Peter Grant to the Underground, literally. I'm talking about London's infamous underground train system, which is unoriginally but brilliantly called the Underground. Why doesn't our MRT have a similarly cool sounding name? Guess we're known for practicality than ingenuity.

When I read the blurb (that's the summary at the back of the book for you non-bibliophile), I was quite excited. There was murder. There was mystery. There was magic. So why was I disappointed after the last page?

Firstly, this may be a spoiler, there wasn't any mythical creatures introduced. There were "Quiet People" but they were basically harmless. Not like a vampire or an evil spirit. Secondly, the murder plot is straight up crime fiction. It was X-Files without the X.

After salivating my interest in Moon Over Soho, this follow-up was a tad bland. The Folly gang was still hunting for the Faceless Man and other non-licensed wizards, but the magic was kept to a minimum. I wiki "quiet people" and the closest result was "mole people", which were very much human. Not very exciting is it?

I hope the next book, Broken Homes, fares better. The thing with series is that each book can't be equally good and I understand that. Even I can't remember the middle books of the Harry Porter series! If you like tunnels, murder and mystery, Whispers Underground is still a good book to read while waiting in a queue.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 10:41 pm
Remembering LKY

Dear Blogger,

Last night at 3.18am, the first prime minister of Singapore and widely recognised as the founding father of modern Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away at the Singapore General Hospital, where he had been admitted for respiratory illnesses since February.

It was inevitable and many people were expecting it, but the news still came as a shock for most Singaporeans. Even I, who was blessed to be born in the "transitional" generation in which we lived through the authoritarian Mr Lee's government and the softer, authoritative government after that.

There are already countless biographies and obituaries on print and online about Mr Lee's life and contributions to the nations. So I'm not going to write about that. What I'm going to write about is what I remembered of Mr Lee's legacies.

When he was the prime minister, I was still a young schoolgirl. Life was pretty stable by then. We weren't technically poor like in the previous generation, although my father would argue otherwise. Most people I know had homes to live and their children attended schools. You can say that we didn't really experience hardship as defined by the pioneers.

I don't remember much about the policies but I do remember a lot of national campaigns and their mascots when I was in school. Like the courtesy campaign, no spitting campaign and the brush teeth campaign. Who remembers brushing their teeth after recess, squatting by the drains in school? I believe it was Colgate who sponsored the mug, toothbrush and toothpaste. Gosh that was nostalgic!

As I got older and learnt more about Mr Lee's policies, there were some that were truly appalling to me. Like the "Stop at Two" campaign and the drive to get educated women married and procreate. Simply because Mr Lee believed that educated parents would produce better quality offsprings.

Firstly, I don't believe that anyone should dictate how many children we should have even though I believe in the importance of population control. Producing the number of children that we can comfortable afford would be a better campaign.

Secondly, a bachelor's degree and beyond does not guarantee highly evolved human offspring. I've met way too many highly educated parents who are seriously dumb in parenting.

When I was growing up, there was no racial tension or issues of integrating with other races. In fact, we didn't even realise that race was that important! Although we looked different and followed different customs and practices, it wasn't hard for us to be friends or neighbours. I guess it's true when they say that children are colour-blind.

However, just a generation before, people were living in racial clusters and there were not many opportunities for racial integration. Each racial group was suspicious of the other. There was even a deadly riot from inter-racial clashes! You wouldn't even have thought that that was Singapore's history, looking at how multi-racial and multi-religious we are now.

That I have to thank Mr Lee. His methods might be harsh but very few would be able to look far and wide like Mr Lee. If he hadn't taken away the lands of the racial groups and make them stay in race-quota HDB flats, I wouldn't have grown up with wonderful multi-racial friends and neighbours, and even family members.

I've heard many complaints about his authoritarian ways, but like any typical Singaporeans, we are like children who whine and complain until a candy is given to our hands. I may not agree with some of his policies, but I wouldn't be living how I'm living now without his dedication and commitment to the national vision. How many of us are willing to commit our lives to the greater good?

Now that I have children of my own, I'm thankful for the safe and secure environment that Mr Lee had put in place since independence. I can't imagine raising my children anywhere else. We may not get free medical, free housing and free education, but that's the price to pay for economic, political and social stability.

Rest in peace Mr Lee. You've done well for a mere mortal.


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Thursday, March 19, 2015 @ 11:32 pm
40 Ways To Stay Creative

Dear Blogger,

It's those days we dread. On days when it's imperative that we be creative, the creative juice isn't flowing. Don't you just find that frustrating? Short of banging my head against the wall, more often than not these days, I put the task on hold and go to bed. Sometimes sleep does bring inspiration! Here are other ways to be creative.



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Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 7:43 pm
Moon Over Soho

Dear Blogger,

I'm on 1-week break from evening classes and assignments. Phew! Really needed the breather. Term 2 of second year second semester is just a few days away and I still haven't gotten down to revising the damn management accounting!

In between classes, assignments and mommy duties, I managed to read "Moon Over Soho" by Ben Aaronovitch. I productively used whatever idle time I had to read some pages; in the toilet, waiting for dinner to be served, having caramel macchiato at Starbucks... but mostly in the toilet.

Moon Over Soho is the sequel to Rivers of London aka Midnight Riot (US version). The sequel started where the last went off, with Constable Grant visiting his colleague, Leslie, in her hometown. She's on medically leave, what with her face gruesomely disfigured from the last novel.

In the sequel, Grant was investigating 2 seemingly unrelated murder cases, which like most other murder mysteries, turned out to be related after all. All that while doing the hot and heavy with what turned out to be a "Jazz" vampire. We all learn something new everyday.

This novel was easier to read than the first, most probably because I was familiar with the antagonist. Rivers of London also introduced a femme fatale who cut off men's penis with her vagina. I was curious about that and the sequel thankfully elaborated on that.

I looked up Wikipedia and there was such a term as vagina dentata (Latin for toothed vagina)! It was mentioned several times in the book. It's rare but it's real! And you thought fiction is weird.

We also learnt more about Nightingale; how old he was, where he learnt wizardry and why he was the only official wizard in England. I hope if there'll be a movie version, Colin Firth plays Nightingale. Nobody does dapper like Colin Firth.

Overall, another page turner. Moving on to Whispers Underground!

US cover

UK cover


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