Hillary Clinton was able to deal with Donald Trump’s bullsh*t at the debate because she probably dealt with this as part of her (and every woman’s) everyday life

The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton happened yesterday. And I’d summarise the debate as an unprepared man interrupting and shouting over a calm and intelligent woman.

But guess what – snap polls indicate that Donald Trump is perceived to have won the face off.


It was painful watching the debate. Not just because I generally have an allergy to stupidity, but also because Donald Trump was the typical sexist man who doesn’t realise how sexist he was. Saying Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the look and stamina to be president? REALLY?

But am I surprised? Not entirely. I have my share of mansplainers and being belittled, which I’m pretty sure it’s because of my gender, and I’ll share some of them with you:

  • My first encounter with sexism was in primary school. I was among one of the most high profile students. Besides being among the top students in school, I also was constantly put in leadership positions and won awards for performing arts, public speaking, essay-writing… you name it. I was honestly rather disappointed when I was passed over for the position of head prefect in school. The position was given to a boy. My discipline master told me after: “You were the obvious choice. But I decided to pick a boy who is also tall because a head prefect should be look authoritative.”My lack of height and my gender were what disadvantaged me.Later, the discipline master assigned me to share the responsibilities of the head prefect, which was mainly to lead the entire school in taking the pledge and singing the national anthem during assembly. Of course, I had to do the work without the proper recognition.
  • I went with my male subordinate to an event. He was wearing a shirt and dark-coloured jeans, and I was in a work dress. The boss of the coordinating organisers only knew the company we were representing but didn’t know our designations. As they were hosting us, I couldn’t help but notice she focused a lot more attention on him right from the start – addressing him more, asking for his opinion more. And then, she mentioned about how she was looking for someone to fill a position in her company, and was looking for someone with more than five years of work experience in the media space. She asked my subordinate if he’d be keen to consider it. My subordinate laughed and told her: “I don’t have so many years of experience yet. Maybe you should ask my boss,” pointing to me. This was when I knew for sure she assumed he was the boss right from the first moment we met, hence somewhat ignoring me throughout the session. Her face spelt out “oops, what have I done” without actually saying it. For the rest of the event, she focused her attention on me instead of my colleague.It got me wondering – what could have made her make this assumption right from the start? I was pretty sure I was just as well-dressed and carried myself as well as my colleague right. Ah, was it because a man looks more like a boss?
  • Speaking of mansplaining, I have a number of experiences but the most vivid one happened very recently – by my ex-boss. I’ve shared this on Facebook before, but I’d love to share it again. With no rhyme or reason, my ex-boss asked me “Are you not interested in politics at all?”This was a totally out-of-the-blue comment. I’ve never once told him I wasn’t interested and if anything, it could only be because I never had the opportunity to share with him my thoughts on politics because he never stopped sharing his own opinions in our conversations, nor interrupting me whenever I shared mine.”Why did you think so? I am interested in politics,” I replied.He then condescendingly asked, “Really? So why are you interested in politics?””I am a political science graduate. I actually studied these stuff,” I replied.

    I know it wasn’t the best comeback, because I was fuming by then and couldn’t keep my cool as well as Hillary Clinton did yesterday. And this came out from me because I’m so upset! I literally spent a couple of years in university writing several 5000-word essays analysing political issues. And this man, for no rhyme nor reason, assumed I wasn’t interested in politics. Why? Because I’m wearing lipstick?

  • And it’s not even always with people who don’t know me well. Some of you may know that I own a business with my husband. In a recent conversation with a friend, she made this reference: (She was talking about something related to my business and then made this remark) …because you’re sort of the boss also right?”I was honestly offended. “What do you mean by ‘sort of’ the boss. You know I own the business too, right?””I know you own the business but Keith is the boss, and you’re sort of the boss because you’re his wife, right?”It was exasperating. I hate that I had to actually defensively tell her that I own an equal part of the business and has an equal, if not a bigger say, over many parts of the business. And I really hated doing something like this, because I don’t like that I had to validate myself, especially not against my own husband.

    By the way, you know how sometimes people call women “lady bosses” or “girl bosses” (while men simply get called “boss”)? I hate these terms. What’s wrong with sticking with just “boss”? These terms make it sound like a woman who’s a boss is an outlier, an anomaly.

  • I haven’t been in a job that does actual writing in a while. My previous job is more of a business development role in the field of content. My job mainly involves negotiation with content publishers to form strategic partnerships, and it’s more a business role without any content production element. Even the job I was in five years ago, where I was heading a five-man team, was more of a business role than a content production role.In other words, I’ve been spending a large part of my career devising how to increase revenue or creating other value (e.g. traffic that can be monetised, increasing mindshare, etc.) using content.

    While speaking to someone today, I mentioned about a client I worked with in my previous role, and he asked me if my team created the content. When it comes to client work, my team provided advice on the best ways to present the content on our platform, and the direction for editorial. We don’t do any of the content production. So I told him “my role involves more strategy than actual production, actually.” He let out an audible sneer. I caught it. And I didn’t intend to let it go. “What was the laugh about?” I asked.”A lot of people say they work on strategies, but actually their work is not strategic at all.” (Bear in mind that he’s fully aware I’m actually making business decisions at work now.)I explained exactly what I did in my previous job. (I really hate having to validate myself like this.) “Does this sound strategic enough to you?”

    I don’t know if he really was happy with my answer and agreed, or was it because I sounded a bit caustic. But he looked like he was convinced.

    Having known how he speaks about my husband and how he speaks to him, I am pretty sure if the same words have been said by him, it wouldn’t have triggered the same response. With all due respect to my husband, whom I have very high regards for, it’s really odd to me why I get a different treatment when I am just as qualified as he is.

You can brush me off as a sensitive bitch, because that’s how women are like, right?

If you thought so, this post is actually meant for you, although you may not appreciate it.

I’m not mad at these people. I’m exasperated and disappointed. They’re likely to have made these remarks without realising the stereotypes they have formed in their minds, and I’m sure if I had the chance to talk to them face to face about it, they’re bound to tell me “Oh, I didn’t belittle you because you’re a woman.”

It’s tough to be a woman in a leadership position. Be firm and assertive, and you’re a bitch. But if you listen to what people say and make decisions based on feedback, you’re soft and easily swayed. Throw a fit, and you’re PMS-ing. Stay calm, and you’re a pushover. Have a no-nonsense attitude, and they say you “haven’t had any”. Laugh and smile more, they assume you flirt your way up the ranks.

It’s a tough game to play. And I’m tired of having to verbalise my CV to people all the time.

I don’t have a solution to sexism in the workplace, unfortunately, except to share my stories so hopefully people will become more aware about the issues.

As for women who are facing or have faced similar situations as I did, I’d like to share these with you:

  • There are also women who bash other women for their gender. Don’t be one of them. (E.g. “It’s hard for her to work hard now that she has a child.” Do we say that about men??! “Female boss?! Must be very difficult to work with her!” Really? Did you know all wars were started by men?)
  • You have to work doubly hard. There’s no way around it. Because when you put in 100%, you’ll probably be seen as merely an equal to a man who has put in 50%. So make sure you put in 200% to stand out without any question.
  • Call out sexism. Whenever there’s a chance, speak up. Call it out. Even if they call you a bitch.

My cancer-battling journey: What was it like to lose my hair to chemotherapy?

When I first told a friend who asked that I had to go through chemotherapy as a treatment to fight lymphoma, his first response was, “OMG! You’re going to lose all your hair!”

(This, my friends, is an example of an inappropriate response to any cancer patient/chemo patient.)

Yes, I was aware that I was going to lose my hair. (And brows. And lashes.) But I do want to let you know that “chemotherapy” is not just a single type of drug, but is made up of a customised “concoction” (if you will) of drugs depending on your condition. Not all drugs have hair loss as a side effect. And whether you lose your hair or not doesn’t indicate whether your chemotherapy is working (to kill cancer cells) or not.

While the stereotype of a cancer patient is that of a bald person, I also would like to point out that chemotherapy isn’t the only form of cancer treatment, but it is (I think) the only cancer treatment that will cause hair loss. This happens because chemotherapy drugs kill off all fast-growing cells, which cancer cells are; these fast-growing cells also include healthy hair follicles, among other cells.

The fact that chemotherapy kills off plenty of healthy cells too (yes, it’s not just healthy hair cells that it kills) means that there are actually plenty of other more gruelling side effects that a chemo patient has to go through. Most of the “pain” I suffered during the course of going through chemotherapy wasn’t related to the hair loss at all.

But this being said, I think the hair loss part of chemotherapy was the most emotional, especially as a girl who have had long (and voluminous) hair for most of my life. It was really my crowning glory.

To prepare myself for the inevitable hair loss, I asked my friends who own Ecorganics, an organic hair salon to pop by my place to trim down my very long hair (that I kept for the wedding that concluded 1 month before I was diagnosed). They gave me a pixie cut that I liked.

While the fact that shorter hair fell off, instead of chunks of long hair, made the process less painful, it was still very painful. When the hair loss kicked in about two weeks after my first cycle of chemo concluded, I was devastated. I woke up seeing my pillow covered with hair; I try my best to wash my hair gently so less would fall out.

But you know what? Upon retrospect, it really doesn’t matter. Because everything will eventually fall off. Yes, everything. So there’s no point in trying to “preserve” them or to delay their fall. The hair follicles die, so even wind blowing against your face will blow away hair. Eating was very troublesome for me, because I would have hair falling all over the food I was trying to eat. And this really didn’t help when chemo causes nausea and poor appetite (and other eating issues), while I was also feeling depressed and frustrated that I have hair falling into my food.

Eventually, I asked my friends from Ecorganics to pop by again, because I decided to shave everything off. And if anyone who is going through chemo is reading this, trust me, this is the best decision ever. It was liberating. Because I no longer had to watch my hair fall off slowly.

I’m thinking it has to do, in part, with taking over “power”. When I was battling cancer, I frequently felt helpless and powerless about my own body. Nothing functioned properly anymore when I was going through chemo, and I couldn’t even be sure if the chemotherapy drugs were doing their work well. There was a deep sense of helplessness and vulnerability during this period, and I guess by making my own decision to shave off every strand of my hair helped me “reclaim” that power, and it felt good.

(But I really need to mention that at my weakest, I felt God’s mighty strength the most. In my desperation, I called out to him, told him that I was so scared because nothing was within my control anymore. And He gently told me “But aren’t you glad that I am in control?” Indeed, this was an experience that truly taught me what it means to “let go, let God”. May I never forget this experience.)

Besides the psychological liberation, it was also a practical thing to do. I no longer have to fuss over hair falling everywhere in the house and into my food. And when you have something as huge as cancer to battle, you’ll be happy that you don’t have to worry about “bad hair day” (and I’m not kidding, ok?)

When every strand of my hair fell off (yes, lashes and brows, and other body hair you can think of – some of which I actually don’t miss very much), I felt depressed again. I looked like an alien without my lashes and brows, especially. But I consoled myself by telling myself that I looked very “haute couture model”.

(If I had taken any photos during this time, I would have deleted them. Because it saddens me to look at them. This is why I have no photos to share with you.)

As I went through the later cycles of chemotherapy, which I really didn’t take very well to, and was suffering from very intense side effects that tormented me badly, the hair issues were really the last thing on my mind. (So, if you’re reading this because you’re going to go through chemo and are worrying about your hair, really, it’s the last thing you would be concerned about eventually. And remember, hair grows back!)

When chemo is done, don’t expect hair to grow out immediately. It takes some time, and it may be slow. It took me about 6 months to grow out my hair to a length that I didn’t mind going public with.

Here’s a photo of me going out to the public without my wig for the first time after I was done with chemo. (I could have embedded the photo directly from Instagram, but somehow I’m having some tech issues with it.)

short chemo hair

Before I went public with this ultra-short ‘do, I have been wearing wigs. The thing about wig is that it can get uncomfortable after a while, especially when it’s sitting right on top of your bare scalp. It can also feel warm, and you need to maintain it (wash it, brush it, dry it etc.)

But the fun part is when you get to try different hairstyles every day (if you don’t mind people asking you if you’ve cut your hair or feel puzzled why your short hair grew out so quickly.)

I brought two different wigs to my Taiwan trip and changed them according to my mood:

short wig

long wig

The lashes and falsies don’t take as long to grow out – they came out completely after around 2-3 months if I didn’t remember it wrongly. (FYI: now that your lashes all grew out together, they have the same growth cycle, which means they will also fall at the same time later on too. So it’ll take quite a while before they grow and fall at different rates.)

The hair growth will continue, but I was told that your hair texture may differ. I’ve seen other chemo patients who have curly hair after their hair grew out again. My hair grew out very, very soft at first (like teddy bear fur) but after a year or so, went back to being wavy (I had naturally wavy hair before chemo), so perhaps this was why I didn’t see a lot of difference.

I enjoyed my pixie styles and styling them in cool ways at first. Here’s one of my first attempts at styling:

styled hair after chemo

But it will eventually become a nightmare. This is because the hair at the back of my head grew out a lot faster than the sides. (Tip: Wearing a hair band helps.)

styled hair after chemo 2

I was trying to grow out my hair and was told by several hairstylists that I will have to keep trimming till they grow out at the same length before I can have any cool hairstyles. If you’re reading this and are trying to grow out your hair post-chemo, my advice is: be patient and keep trimming. The good thing for me was that, since I’ve almost always had long hair and never had anything shorter than a bob, it was the best time to try out something new. I would have never volunteered a pixie cut in the past! Thank goodness I think I look pretty ok with it.

One final thing I want to talk about is “awkwardness” related to your hair. For me, I don’t like to make first conversations around my medical history, so I obviously don’t talk about my hair. When I was wearing a wig, I had several people I met at events asking me about my hair, saying that it’s a good cut and asked where I got it done. (AWKWARD.) And then when I went public with my (new) short hair, I had a lot of other people (some of them remembered I had very long hair) asked what made me cut my hair soooo short. (VERY AWKWARD.) You know, the thing is that, if I tell them honestly: “Oh, I didn’t cut my hair, I lost my hair to chemo,” it will really make the person who asked look like a jerk, and he/she can only awkwardly reply “I’m sorry! I didn’t know!” and feel very embarrassed about it. I didn’t want him/her to be in such a situation, so I try my best to deflect the question most of the time. What usually work: “Why leh? Not nice huh?” and then change the topic, or laugh, and then say: “Eh! Tell me about your trip!/Where did you get your dress from!” depending on which one fits the situation better.

By the way, your hairstylist is definitely going to ask about your hair. Some will frown and ask you how you land yourself such a bad “cut” or why you wanted to cut it so short. These are times I’ll tell the truth (I had to) but it will get quite awkward too. Because usually the replies will include: “HUH! But you’re so young!”, “Were you very sad to lose your hair?”, “Poor thing!”

Anyway, these are all I have to share about hair issues related to chemo. If you want to know more because you’re about to go through chemo, are going through chemo, or know of someone who is and wants to help him/her, feel free to drop me a comment/email. If you’re just kaypo, you can also drop me a comment/email, but I’ll only reply depending on how appropriate the question is.

And I’m ending off with the latest photo I have of my hair now, 1.5 years post chemo. (Wished it wasn’t that grainy. Oh well.)

hair after chemo 1 half years

I have weird neighbours

“Come back home before 12 midnight!” my dad shouted out to me as I left the house for a party. My neighbour who was watering his plants heard this and got extremely mad.

“Excuse me? Who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he questioned my dad. I heard this while walking to the lift and decided to turn back to find out what was going on. The neighbour looked really, really angry.

“Hey, calm down, buddy. I was only talking to my daughter,” my dad explained.

“Yes, but who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he asked again.

“Hey, my dad was talking to me. Not to you. You can come home whatever time you want, dude,” I interjected the conversation.

“HE SAID IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND I HEARD IT. IF HE DIDN’T INTEND IT FOR ME, WHY DID HE SAY IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE? WHO IS HE TO TELL ME WHAT TIME TO COME HOME?!” he shouted. He was gesticulating a lot, his face was red, and he was trembling.

“OK, look, as a father, I just wanted to make sure my daughter is safe and I want her to come home before 12. As for you, you didn’t need to listen to what I have to say. Got it? I hope it’s clear now,” my father explained.

“Yes, I’m going to come home anytime I like, and it’s not up to YOU to tell me what to do, you stuck-in-the-mud old man,” he said, pointing his finger at my father, and rolling his eyes at the same time.

I sighed, “OK, whatever,” I muttered under my breath. My dad shook his head in resignation.

“Anyway, you should get your household in place. I’ve overheard the quarrels you have with your wife – do something about it. I’ve heard about how you are hoarding things in your air raid shelter – clear it out. It’s so dangerous, you know? Do something useful instead of going around telling people what to do, you hear me?” the neighbour continued.

“Yes, we are working on these. Thanks for your concern.”

“And it’s ridiculous! There’s this guy who stays at the next block – I heard he’s your. He’s a con-man, I heard. A cheater. A liar. A wayang-king. Seriously, what’s wrong with people in your family? All bloody hypocrites!” the neighbour refused to give up.

“He’s a very distant relative. Actually, we don’t even really talk to each other, not even during Chinese New year…” I explained.

“You’re all the same,” he cut me off, “I’m coming home at 1am today. I am doing whatever I like. You just watch me!” he gave my dad a death stare and said.

“Keep your archaic thinking to yourself and your daughter! Stop shoving it down my throat!” he gave his parting shot, went back to his house and slammed his door shut.

But that’s what we did, I thought.

2015 was all about “cleaning” for me

My body cleans itself out. I see the effects of chemotherapy in my battled body reversing themselves. My hair, eyelashes, brows, nails all grew out. My scars lightened. My stamina improved; I can now easily run 3km, whereas one year ago, I’d trip and fall walking down a short flight of stairs because my calves and knees can’t hold my body up. Other bodily troubles that people won’t see recovered. God made everything new again. And He will continue to heal me in 2016.

And I’ve stayed “clean” for another year. The cancer didn’t come back – praise the Lord. One year in remission. One more risky year to go. Fingers crossed.

I cleaned out my priorities. I spent time in only what is of value to me.
I cleaned out friends that bring negative vibes; the funny thing is that I’ve always known I don’t feel “comfortable” with these people but previously I’ve always allowed them to stick around myself to stick around.
I travelled to amazing places with my brother, my husband, my best friends – the only regret is that I didn’t manage to find time to travel with my parents. But that’ll definitely be a priority this year.
I refocused on Daily Vanity’s editorial offering, which had to suffer a slow-down because I had wedding planning and then fell horribly ill in 2014. We are on track again, and in 2015, I’ve been blessed with a team of amazing and committed writers.
I celebrated my first year wedding anniversary with Keith. I love this wonderful man who is now cleaning the bathrooms while I’m writing here. (My doting father-in-law has instructed him to do the tougher household chores so that I can be allowed to recuperate. My father-in-law wanted to help us with the lighter chores too i.e. he didn’t want me to do any. He helped us out for a while, but now that I’m a lot better, I’ve taken over. I still can’t believe how supportive my in-laws are.)

And my in-laws are “made clean”, through baptism. Keith is also accepted into the Catholic Church. Our family now shares the same faith, and I’m happy to journey with them.

I ate cleaner. I started cooking (fresh foods, not pre-packaged-microwaved food) – which is something I’d never have imagined myself doing two years ago – and I think I’m getting decently good at it. At least when I got my best buds over during Christmas and whipped up a meal for seven, all the food was cleaned up.

And yesterday, the last day of 2015, I spent my morning cleaning – a new space that I’d share more about when it is ready I am ready. And then also another new space to announce. Later this year!

In 2016, I aim to remain clean: in my thoughts, words, and deeds, in what I choose to spend my time on, and in the life I choose to lead.

10 Reasons Why I Fell In Love With Clementi After Moving From Ang Mo Kio

I read an article circulating on social media about why Clementi is the best place to live in. I agree. But my husband and I both thought the article didn’t manage to give justice to exactly how wonderful Clementi is, and I’ve been challenged to do a better piece.

Just some background: I’ve stayed in Ang Mo Kio almost all my life, and never in my life have I thought that I was going to ever move to Clementi. The closest I’ve ever been a Clementi-er? When I was studying in NUS. But very reluctantly (at first), I gave in to my husband’s request to ballot for a place here, and we got it on our first try. Because I wasn’t used to it at all when I first moved, I didn’t like it. I missed Ang Mo Kio so much. Now that I’ve settled down for a year, I’m ready to show my love.

So, how do I love Clementi? Let me count the ways:

1. It’s super convenient

Because of where it is at on the MRT line (one stop from Jurong East), people tend to have the impression that we are in the West. To be fair, we are probably better described as South-west.

See? That’s definitely not WEST.

The other article said we are 20 minutes away from Yishun by MRT, well, that’s quite a stretch. (It makes me wonder if the writer has ever taken the MRT.) But it doesn’t matter, because who cares about going to freaking Yishun anyway?

We are, however…

  • just a 30-minute MRT ride to Orchard Road (15 minutes only if you drive, and I know because I do that every day, and you can skip all the ERP if you want)
  • board a JB-bound bus at Kranji MRT station within 20 minutes (20 to 30-minute drive via Tuas Second Link to Malaysia)
  • 30-minute bus or MRT ride to VivoCity (where you can get to Sentosa, and 15 minutes if you drive)
  • the nearest NEL station is just seven stops away at Outram Park, and the nearest Circle line station is two stops away at Bouna Vista

2. There are many good educational institutions nearby

If you’re planning ahead for children, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no lack of good educational institutions nearby: Nanhua Primary School, NUS High, Nanhua High, and National University of Singapore are all here. Not too far away (approximately 15-minute drive), you have Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, and Nanyang Girls’ High.

3. So many cool places to hang out at

When I stayed in Ang Mo Kio, the “coolest” place I hang out at was probably at Bishan Park (where there are cafes available). But after moving here, I find myself spending my weekends at Holland Village and Rochester Park, where there are many nice places to wile my time away at. Some nice places Keith and I spend time at:

  • Sixty40 at Rochester Mall, a nice bistro-bar that offers live music from Thursday to Saturday. We’ve heard Alfred, who does mainly country music, play there one night and it was good. He also does pop songs, take dedications and entertained us with his great imitation of singers like Elvis Presley. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with because he’s very humorous. The prices are reasonable, and you can find decent food and alcohol there.
  • If you, like us, really love live music, another place you can hang out at is Wala Wala, in Holland V. Most people already know about this, so I’m not going to elaborate.
  • W39 is within Clementi, and is a hidden-away bistro and bakery that is very popular, despite how difficult it is to find parking lots there. The food isn’t fantastic, we think, but it’s a good “hipster” joint to hang out at.

These are just three examples but really, there are so many more just within the Rochester Park and Holland V area. And if you need any more convincing, well, my Starbucks at Rochester Park looks cooler than your Starbucks. (That’s where you’ll find me working on Daily Vanity either after breakfast or after dinner on the weekends.)

4. Food, glorious food

Building on the previous point, there are also lots of good food to be found in or near Clementi (who says you only get good food in the East?!)

  • There’s a famous rojak place at Clementi central. The uncle mixes the rojak so professionally, it’s a joy to watch him. He’ll also try to sell you his signature dried squid. Our honest advice: just go for the rojak. The squid is not bad, but just a little too pricey. The rojak is worth the queue, though!
  • Right beside the rojak stall is a famous tutu kweh stall that also sees long queues all the time.
  • While you’re in Clementi central, might as well queue at the Blk 448’s hawker centre, home to a famous satay stall. At the same hawker centre, you’ll also find a famous fish porridge stall. This stall doesn’t have a queue, but you typically have to wait for 20-30 minutes for your food. It was the best porridge I’ve tried.
  • Did you know that the famous Maxwell Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice has a stall in Clementi (at Blk 450) too? At the same coffee shop, you’ll also find Golden Rooster, which sells yummy fried and BBQ chicken that my husband loves. Tian Tian usually sells out by around 7pm, so make sure you visit early.
  • We also have Botak Jones in Clementi (Blk 325)!
  • Go to West Coast market and look for the delicious duck rice ($3 for a set meal consisting of braised duck meat, tofu, egg and herbal soup). In the morning, don’t be surprised to see a long queue forming at the fishball noodles stall. We don’t particularly like it, but obviously, the queue says otherwise for many others.


  • Travel further to Bukit Timah and don’t forget to visit Udders Pancakes, which my husband and I absolutely love. Next to Udders Pancakes is Kim’s restaurant, which we heard serve really good Korean cuisine. (We haven’t tried it ourselves.)
  • If you’re a prata fan, Clementi is your place. Prata Planet (Blk 320) has one of the best prata to offer in Singapore. You can also check out Niqqi’s Cheese Prata (it’s where we used to go to when we were in NUS, but it doesn’t seem so good anymore) and Al-Azhar Eating Place at Bukit Timah, which is highly recommended too.

5. There are many pasar malam

I noticed Clementi West often holds pasar malam. I estimate it to happen around once every three months. I haven’t seen one in my Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood for at least 10 years. Where else can you get Ramly burgers in the neighbourhood?

6. It’s in Jurong GRC

Tharman. ’nuff said.

7. You have the sea near you too

Those who like water bodies will appreciate that the West Coast Park. The VivoCity waterfront, Keppel Bay, and Labrador Park are also a stone’s throw away. Sentosa is near too (see point 1). I like places with water bodies because I find it relaxing to be near them. This is a personal bonus for me.

8. Malls and more

I can have access to these shopping malls within 10 minutes: Clementi Mall, City Vibes, 321 Clementi, West Coast Plaza, Star Vista, Rochester Mall, IMM, Jcube, Westgate, JEM, and Big Box.

9. Home to award-winning HDB estate

The estate I stay in has won at least three awards, from what I understand. I don’t really know how often are HDB estates given awards – not that common, I suppose. Because it was in the news and there was a documentary that talked about it. One of the awards is the annual Fiabci Prix d’Excellence award, which is apparently a highly-regarded international award. On a separate note, did you know that on the plot of land where Casa Clementi now sits, they’ve found a bomb left behind from World War II?

10. A piece of cross that Jesus died on can be found in Clementi

This relic is securely kept in the Church of Holy Cross in Clementi, hence its name.

You tell me, where else in Singapore is more holy?

Enough about Bro Code. Here are my proposed Girl Code rules!

You probably know what “Bro Code” refers to: a set of rules or etiquette to follow if you’re a guy, towards your other guy friends (aka your “bros”). Some of the Bro Code rules I’ve heard include: Never date your bro’s ex-girlfriend, and never tell your bro’s girlfriend what nasty things he did last night.

I think girlfriends ought to have a set of rules that governs their friendships too. I don’t know if there are any “official” ones going around, but these are what I think should be in the Girl Code. Feel free to let me know if you think there are any other ones!

1. Your girl pal’s current boyfriend’s exes and her exes’ new girlfriends are never as good as her


2. Discreetly let your girl pal know about the vegetable that’s stuck between her teeth as soon as you see it. This rule also extends to mascara smudges and lip stains on the teeth. Like, when this happens:


Like, when this happens.


3. “Like” all her selfies. (Unless she’s posting too excessively, then tell her privately to stop.) Tap “like” all the way, like this:


Just keep tapping "like".

4. Don’t ever get pissed off at her and not tell her why, thinking that “she should know it what“. (She’s not your boyfriend! Then again, you shouldn’t be doing this to your boyfriend!) I mean, like this:



5. Ex-boyfriends are off-limits.

ovaries before brovaries

6. Be happy for her successes and let her have a moment. For example, if she says: “I’m getting a promotion!”, the response should be “Congrats! You deserve it because you work so hard! Tell me about the new role!” and not “Sigh, I wonder when my boss will ever appreciate what I do…” (and spend the next one hour talking about your work woes)



7. If you stop hanging out because you started dating, and even if you meet, he’s the only one you ever talk about? STAHP.


abandon girlfriend for boyfriend1

8. Take care of her when she’s drunk and make sure she’s not in danger. (Although I’d even say, you should stop her from drinking before she gets pissed drunk.)



9. Don’t ever harbour the thought of up-staging her at her own wedding. You’ll have your day!



10. Be honest at the changing room. Don’t ever allow her to buy something you know look horrible on her.


hell no

 Any other rules you think we should add?

Selfies Are Not That Bad. Here’s When I Think They’re Good

Selfie: A word that didn’t exist until recent years (it only made its way to Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2014) and is a big part of so many people’s lives these days.

I won’t call myself a selfie-fanatic, but I can see why people are hooked on them. We used to rely on others to take a photo for us, and the chances of it turning out as a good one is probably 50:50. Now, with the help of front-cameras and flip screens, we are able to see ourselves and snap a picture according to what we think look good enough to be immortalised as a photo (that we ultimately post onto social media). Another up side? Unlike getting someone else to take a photo for us, we can snap as many photos as we like, without frustrating the photographer.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven't taken photos for a long time before this.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven’t taken photos for a long time before this. Here, I wore a wig, drew on my brows, and wore eyeliner to conceal the missing lashes, and stepped out of the house for the first time, on a “first date” with my husband after the storm.

While selfies, like Justin Bieber, may be the biggest thing of the decade as far as Millenials are concerned, they also have a bad name for being synonymous with egoism and narcissism.

I admit duck-faces annoy me, and humble-braggarts – those that post a random selfie with a caption that says: 3 people asked if I were a celebrity today – make me mad. I am also not appreciative of Facebook albums that are made up of nothing but 100 photos of you making faces at the camera in the same room, on the same day. But selfies aren’t always bad, and these are when I think they’re great:

1. They serve as a motivator

Fitspo (short for fitsporation) that are posted as a record of your fitness or weight loss journey don’t just inspire others, but more importantly, help you to keep on track. Because you feel more pressured into showing progress and keeping to the regime, it makes you more motivated to work hard at the gym. What’s not okay, though: gym images with full-on makeup; just so you know, exercising with makeup destroys your skin.

2. They are an ice-breaker

Most people wouldn’t believe this, but I am really shy with strangers, and have to try very hard to warm up to them. However, when someone says “Hey, let’s take a selfie!” at appropriate times, it immediately breaks the ice. After all, huddling just to fit into the frame and laughing over the attempt to get as many people as possible in the picture makes for some good interactions. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for your new friends’ Instagram handle or to make Facebook friend requests afterwards!

3. They are a good momento

taiwan selfie

Breakfast at a beautiful hotel we checked into at Taroko Gorges in Taiwan. This was taken during my post-chemo celebratory trip with my brother, and is a “selfie with a story” for me.

I’m not talking about the 100 photos that you took in your room, but those that truly record the events you want to remember, like your best friend’s 30th birthday party or your proposal. Now that we are all armed with smartphones with front cameras, it makes life easier for solo travellers who might want to get a photo of a beautiful moment with themselves in it. After all, what’s the point of snapping a photo of only Eiffel Tower when you can probably find thousands of them on Google images? But hey, none has you in it, so that’s unique!

Not All Cancer Patients Have The Same Inspiring Story

Part of my job requires me to keep up with news of all kinds. And whenever I update myself with health news, it’s easy to notice that there’s news on the topic of cancer every day, whether it is about a new development in treating it, or about cancer prevention. More often than not, I’ll also see inspiring stories of survivors (or patients who are preparing for their death).

I notice a trend in these stories. It’s always about how the patient is a (usually young) person with a bright future, and how cancer struck in an unexpected way, how the patient and the family grieve, but eventually saw the positive in the negative, persevered through the tough treatments, and finally came out of it strong. And regardless whether the patient survives, there’s a silver lining behind the dark cloud.

Why are all the stories such a cliche?

Because inspiring stories sell. Everyone loves a pauper-to-prince story, and about how good triumph over evil. And so, everyone wants to hear how a tragedy happens to someone, and how he/she bravely overcomes it.

Can you imagine this story being published: Rachel has cancer, no insurance coverage, and no family members to take care of her. Because she has been a nasty and grouchy person, she has no friends too. When she fell ill, she became nastier and grouchier. She died after a long period of painful chemotherapy, with no one by her death bed.

In the end, patients are expected to look strong

No thanks to such “expectations”, patients are supposed to be brave and strong. There are many dark sides to fighting cancer that people may not have seen. I find it too cruel to share the horrible side that I stopped updating my social media about my illness. It’s too cruel to the social media audience, mind you – not to me. After all, what they want to hear is that I’m fighting a strong and brave fight. They want to make comments like: Kristen, you’re so strong and brave! Good luck! You’re going to get better! I’m going to pray for you! (Disclaimer: I appreciate well-wishers, really. And honestly, I can tell if you mean it or not. I may not call you out, but I know it. So, genuine well-wishers, I’m not referring to you.)

And what they want to hear in reply: I will! I can get better! Thanks for your prayers! I feel better already!

But guess what – this doesn’t always happen. I don’t always feel like a warrior. I don’t always want to share with you how I am really feeling right now (usually, in pain, afraid that I may die, lying in bed weakly). Sometimes, I may just want to sob quietly by the bed, asking God why it has to be me.

I didn’t feel like replying your Facebook comments to me and then find the strength to also look at your travel photos, food photos, and baby photos on the same platform, because these are luxuries that I may not be able to enjoy anymore.

Everyone wants to hear a good story especially after the fight is over

Even after the fight is over, and you’re officially a “survivor”, everyone expects a good story. I think the term “survivor” is so loaded, people put their own perceived value to it. You’re a cancer survivor, so you must have an inspiring story to share.

We held a small gathering shortly after I was given the “all clear” by the doctors. Some of Keith’s friends whom I hardly know came by.

I was asked questions like: How did God touch your life during that period? Do you feel like cancer has made you a better person? Share about how you overcome the pain! (Not verbatim, but definitely to the same effect.)

Now, I need to clarify that I was indeed very close to God when I was going through the treatments, and the ordeal made me and my family more prayerful. And because of the closer relationship with God, I’ve understood Jesus’ passionate love in a more “real” way, having experienced physical (and emotional) suffering, and this makes me want to be a better Christian (and in effect, a better person).

The issue I have is: I think I’ve been very lucky and I don’t think my experience can be taken to be a representation of many cancer patients out there. I have been extremely privileged because my parents, being self-employed, were able to take care of me very closely, I have a close group of girlfriends who supported me, my new husband did not run away out of fear and is also a faithful Christian, and many of my church friends supported me through prayers. There are many other privileges I have received when I was fighting cancer (that I may share another time), which helped me to weather through this darkest period of my life.

But these are not privileges that every patient will go through, I believe. And I find it absolutely presumptuous to ask a cancer survivor to share the positive parts of her/his ordeal, as if it were a given that the experience has to be positive, and that the survivor must have an inspiring story to tell.

Why do you want to hear stories anyway?

Is it because you want to feel better about yourself? Like, man, I feel good now to know that I’m better off than so many people. Or is it like, wow, this story makes for a good one to share with my friends the next time we are contemplating about life!

You know people who are racist stereotype a particular race and form a specific opinion about them, right? Thinking that all cancer survivors must share a common trait (such as, having inspiring stories to share), is a similar form of bias.

I have a lot of inspiring stories to share. But they aren’t all accumulated during the time I fought cancer. God has touched my life not just when I was fighting cancer, but also when I’m not fighting cancer. And the time I fought cancer comes with a lot of ugly stories too, just so you know. If you want to hear the good stories, you got to accept the ugly ones too, but I’m not sure if everyone wants to hear them.

Food & Nutrition Tips Based On My Chemotherapy Experience

Like it or not, many patients experience loss of appetite and change in taste buds during chemotherapy. As much as I’m a foodie before I fell ill, these happened to me too, and was probably why I lost 10kg after my chemotherapy treatments ended.

They’re both side effects of chemotherapy. The loss of appetite could be due to nausea, or just generally not “feeling” like eating, and also because of oral ulcers that tend to occur especially with aggressive chemotherapy.

In my case, my chemotherapy doses increased with each cycle until my fourth one. They couldn’t increase it anymore because my body wasn’t able to hold up to the strong effects. With each cycle, I got worse oral ulcers despite gargling with salt water regularly, and keeping my oral hygiene in tip-top condition. We are talking about ulcers that fill the entire mouth and tongue. It was impossible to even talk or open my mouth, let alone eat.

Taste change on the other hand, is really peculiar because medically, I don’t think there’s a clear reason for it. It could be because of damage to oral cells. However, food tasted really odd to me, they sometimes tasted bitter, or with a weird sweetness, or just… strange. Generally, nothing tasted particularly good.

It could be psychological, but I felt like puking whenever I smelt hospital food. So those days I had to be in the hospital (which was about 7 days per 3 weeks) were the days I struggled most with food.

All the above-mentioned problems, coupled with less options for food (everything has to be kept low-bacteria, that means no raw foods, including raw vegetables, and thin-skinned fruits like grapes, and no yogurt and mayonnaise – the former is made up of (good) bacteria, and the latter of raw eggs). My parents cooked every meal for me, washed everything properly and made sure they were cooked thoroughly and that I ate immediately so as to make sure they weren’t contaminated.

Now that my taste buds and appetite are more or less back to normal, I thought I’d share some tips and thoughts that I had during that period. Hopefully this is going to benefit those who are going through chemotherapy now and feeling a bit lost, or for those who are cooking for loved ones who are going through chemotherapy.


  • Distract yourself during meal times. When I first got home after I was diagnosed and went through my first chemotherapy cycle, I was still in a state of distraught. So were my family. Everyone was so concerned that when I ate, everyone gathered around to “watch” me. I soon realise that this wasn’t a “good” way to eat. My trick was to either eat with someone and chat, or eat while watching a show. The idea is to get my mind off the food and make the motion of feeding myself go auto-pilot, and focus on something that’s engaging instead. The shows of choice during that time? Masterchef (weird, I know) and Kang Xi Lai Le.
  • Eat multiple meals in small portions. Food became something intimidating to me during that time. When I saw too much food on the table, I’d feel like puking. It helped when my parents started serving food on very small plates for me. For instance, I may be eating just a small slab of fish and a few pieces of vegetables for lunch, but may take a small bowl of red bean soup during tea time.
  • Eat slowly. I typically take about one and a half hour to finish one small bowl of porridge. But this makes eating less intimidating.
  • Don’t think, just eat. Mentally, it’s hard to swallow food especially when you don’t have appetite. I didn’t even feel hungry most of the time. However, I had to logically tell myself that I HAD to eat to have the energy to fight an ongoing battle. So, I dissociate food with enjoyment, and think of it as a necessity. I reminded myself that all I had to do was to put food into my mouth, bite and swallow. Win.
  • Plan your meals. Because you can’t eat as much as you used to, it’s important to pick the “better” things to eat. It is very important to have sufficient protein input every day (at least 7 servings). I get most of my protein in the form of fish, tofu, eggs and beans. On days when I REALLY can’t eat anything, I drink a can of nutrition supplement called Ensure. By the way, I still have several cans that I stocked up but never drank. If you know of anyone who needs it and particularly if they can’t afford it, please let me know and I’ll be pleased to give them out for free.
  • Make your food interesting. There were certain ingredients that can instantly perk up my appetite. I’m not sure if it works for everyone, but I thought I’d share. Salted butter was a life-saver for me. I put that onto bread and into mashed potatoes, and they instantly tasted better. You can get the individually-packed ones from supermarkets to ensure hygiene. Adding a touch of lemon juice to fish also made them taste better for me. Another way to make food interesting is to change up the way you present the food. I quickly got sick of having steamed salmon, but when my dad started grilling them and putting them into burger buns, it became more appetising.
  • Fruits and fruit juices work. I could never get enough of fruit juices and particularly coconut. The coconut also offers a good source of energy and fats, which are good for the body.
  • Prepare liquid food. These were my ammunition on those days when I my mouth was full of ulcers. My best girlfriends showered me with lots of baby foods that really worked out well because they’re easy to eat, nutritious, and are soothing on the ulcers because I chill them in the fridge before eating them. They were the only things I ate during those days I have ulcers, because it hurt a lot even when I ate tofu. You can also consider soups.
  • Find ways to curb nausea. My girlfriends also supplied me with sweets and lollipops that helped to curb my nausea. One of my girls bought me organic mint tea, which I find useful to stop nausea. Whenever I feel nauseated, I also quickly lie down and breathe deeply. The doctor prescribed me medicine as well, which I only take as a last option.
  • Ask for medical help. Two weeks after my last chemotherapy, I was experiencing extreme pain because of the mouth ulcers and constipation. I had a great fear towards food and eating too, firstly because it was just too painful to eat, and secondly, I knew that if I ate, I had to go to the toilet, which was super painful as well. Those were very horrible days that I still shudder whenever I think about them. I was admitted to the hospital for neutropenia, and during that stay, a pain management doctor was called in to help. I was prescribed mylocaine and morphine – which were really my magic potions. I personally don’t think we should use pain relief drugs readily, but speak to a doctor to see if he/she would advise it for your case. These drugs made my life a lot easier.

I was really very, very lucky because I have a strong cheer-leading team. My parents took turns to prepare all meals for me. It wasn’t easy and I know it’s rather stressful too, but they did this with so much joy and with a heart of service.

My brother constantly did research to find out what foods I could eat and to find ways to make food more interesting for me. He also spent time during meal times to chat with me so I could be distracted.

My girlfriends pampered me soooo much: whenever they know I like something (that I was allowed to eat), you’ll be sure that I’d be showered with it.

And a special mention for my dad and brother, who cooked san lao hor fun and mushroom risotto using ingredients that I was able to eat, just because I said I had a craving. During those times, I had no appetite all the time, and having a “craving” was very rare. But what’s more priceless was their readiness to indulge in my craving.

Finally, a word for you, if you’re going through chemotherapy and struggling with food. Don’t be depressed! Every morsel you consume is one mini victory. Take it one spoonful at a time. Try different ways to manage the issue. Get help – speak to a doctor or a nutritionist. And don’t feel bad about it – your body’s like a battlefield now and it’s normal for you to feel horrible all over. Keep your eyes on the goal. And all the best!

7 Problems Only People With Good Memory Can Understand


This is my sparkling brain.


My memory is good. My friends can all attest to this. And my memory has always been good. From the time I was two or three, my parents could count on me to remember every relative’s phone number. Before the mobile phone’s phonebook function was a norm, my ability was a great asset to them.

Later on my life, it helps that I was in every competition and activity in my primary school that requires some form of memorising, from story-telling competitions to emcee.

And if you attended my wedding, you’ll notice that I delivered my speech without any script. It was all “written” in my head a week ago, and I “stored” it there, rehearsed once more as I showered (by running it in my head) before the wedding banquet, and delivered it on the stage.

Good memory is a blessing, but it can sometimes be a curse. Here’s why:

1. It’s irritating when nobody can remember you

You’ve seen this person once at a party and were briefly introduced to him/her. You chatted for a minute, exchange niceties and either of you had to leave. One year later, you see him/her again. “Hey, Alice! It’s been a while!”

Usually, the reply would be: I’m sorry, you are…

“Remember, we met at a party in February last year and Beatrice introduced us?”

Dammit, why can’t anyone get their act together and remember human beings they’ve been introduced to? Do I have to remind her she was wearing a red dress with ruffles details, and she paired it with a rose gold horseshoe necklace for her to believe that we’ve met? Now it makes me look like I cared so much about you when actually I could remember these because I remember everything.

(True story that happened recently: I was introduced to another blogger by a PR manager. Said blogger shook my hand and asked for my name again, obviously looking like it was the first time we met. I was so upset, I raised my voice and said: OMG! We’ve met so many times, had tea together, and corresponded via emails so many times! You don’t remember?” The last correspondence we had was two years ago. BUT STILL! Then, whatever conversation we had later was just awkward, because whatever she told me, I was thinking “Yes, yes I know already!” and whatever she asked me, I was thinking “Dammit, I’ve told you before already!” I felt as if I were talking to someone who suffered from amnesia. I just wanted to rant about this, because I seriously think this has more to do with her very poor memory than my good memory.)

2. Sometimes people think you’re a creep

A continuation from the scenario from #1. You can remember EVERYTHING the almost-stranger said to you in the previous meeting. Perhaps in that short 10-minute conversation, she briefly mentioned her family.

At the second meeting, after she reluctantly say hi and acknowledge that you probably really met a year ago, the conversation is likely to go like this:

She: “My brother plays the piano too! And he’s pretty good on it.”

You: “Oh? The older one or the younger one?”

She: “How did you know I had two brothers?”

You: “You told me at the last meeting. That your elder brother’s working at a club, and your younger brother’s in NUS.”

At this point, your new friend is likely to look very uncomfortable. She might laugh and ask: What else have I told you? She may look nervous. She may give you a discreet dirty look, like you were Facebook-stalking her or something. Hey, you were the one who told me these things last year, remember? Oh, yes, you don’t remember.

3. People don’t even remember the nice things they’ve done for you

I remember many gifts, trinkets and cards that my friends have given/made for me. But when I remind them about it, they often don’t remember at all. I know 10 years have passed since you gave me that scarf you knitted for me before I went on my trip, but I thought it’d have meant a lot to you too so you’d remember it! No?

4. You remember all the nice things you’ve done for people

These memories usually come back when that person decided to be mean. And then you recall all the nice things you’ve done for her/him, including offering to walk her home because her mother couldn’t pick her up and she was afraid to go home alone, when you were both in primary three. How dare she call me a bitch behind my back when I walked her home when she was a frightened 9-year-old?

5. You are able to catch lies better than others

Friend briefly mentioned that he overslept and didn’t manage to go for his language class that day (it was Valentine’s Day). A few weeks later, he said that he missed his language class on Valentine’s Day because he had to help his mum get groceries in the morning. You know that he’s lying, (probably about the groceries), for whatever reason (that he had to lie). But since it’s so trivial, should you call him out?

It’s worse if you catch your friend’s partner lying. Should you call him out?

If you didn’t have a good memory, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the lie. If your memory wasn’t good, you won’t be caught in a dilemma. There had been many situations where I kept my mouth shut and allowed the person to continue lying because they were scenarios where someone was lying (and bragging) in a social setting and it was just inappropriate to call the person out.

6. You remember “useless” information that no one appreciates

Like, the lyrics to all your school songs. What’s the point of remembering them when none of your ex-classmates do (at least not the entire song), and you can’t break into song with them? Anyway, you’re going to sound like a nerd for remembering the songs, because your friend is likely to say “Aiyah! I don’t even sing the school song last time. I just stood there and stone.”

And now, you look damn uncool.

Hey, I may have also stood there and stone, but I STILL remember all the lyrics leh!

7. People forget their promises to you

People are going to promise to bring you to certain places, introduce you to certain people, buy you certain things, or go on the next trip with you. But, no, nobody is going to remember. But you.

Like that friend who promised to go to Redang with you and her sister, but then you realise a few months later, she book tickets with her new boyfriend to go with them to Redang. Are you supposed to get offended?

And if the person who makes these promises (and forget them) is your husband, he’s going to get a really, reaaaaaally hard time. I promise. And I won’t forget.