hola 2012.

31 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

I spent the last day of the year amidst good company, plenty of laughter and good food, and I’m entering 2012 with a tranquil heart, feeling very much at peace. And I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.

So, happy new year, everyone…may every new day in 2012 be your best one yet!

The last sunset of 2011 - glorious!

the perception of deception.

30 Dec 2011 § 2 Comments

Cheating. Infidelity. Unfaithfulness.

It’s a subject that’s ofttimes sensitive, one of which I believe most people keep under wraps – not wanting to admit that they’ve strayed or that they’ve been on the other end of the spectrum.

Well, I had the opportunity – for want of a better word – to have experienced the latter six years ago. While it was emotional and as far as I know, non-physical, let’s call a spade a spade – emotional unfaithfulness is just as painful to deal with as physical adultery, if not more.

How did I find out? Classic signs, really.

Firstly, a withdrawal of affection. Not a gradual waning type of withdrawal, but a sudden sharp disappearance. He was withdrawn, distracted, indifferent. I initially attributed it to work, but it continued even while we were on holiday.

A sudden, new interest in clothes. Wanting to join a gym. Mentioning a new phone brand that he never liked (the girl had that phone, I found that out later).

Going out with his new colleagues. Not wanting me there, telling me that it’s just a departmental thing.

His behavior was so out of the ordinary that it flagged warning signs, and after nearly a month, I succumbed to my suspicions and checked his phone. Yes, I know it was an invasion of privacy and obviously not something to be proud of. Yet I found nothing, and my thoughts immediately shifted to thinking that it must be something I did or didn’t do.

I gathered up the courage to do ‘The Talk‘ and in the process, was subsequently told that he doesn’t love me anymore. And so, I watched as my carefully built world collapsed and crumbled around me, while he walked out to join his colleagues for dinner that same night. I remember this so clearly as it were yesterday…it was the first time I have ever felt so worthless as a person as I sat on the chair at the balcony sobbing my eyes out trying to comprehend how it could’ve come to this.

In the days following his revelation, I initiated a second round of talks. Swallowed my pride, tried to patch things up, make it work, salvage what I could. Yet something was missing. His heart wasn’t in it even though he’d agreed to give it another go. And I knew then that there was still a missing piece in the puzzle.

Always trust a woman’s intuition.

What I found this time astounded me (thought in retrospect, I should’ve expected it – wasn’t I after all searching for evidence of infidelity?). What I’d missed the first time around were 300+ SMSes, carefully hidden in a folder that was renamed after a guy’s version of the girl’s name, sent over a span of a month. Cliché phrases of ‘she doesn’t understand me, I’m not happy‘. Plans to have dinner together. SMSes that showed that they did have dinner together. Plans to go somewhere together.

I know that at this point, some people would argue that this doesn’t fall under cheating in their books. I agree that the lines are grey and muddy when it comes to emotional infidelity – how does one define the moment when a friendship goes from impersonal to personal?

Well, the one common statement that you will find if you ever read more on this subject, and which I still use up till today to define emotional infidelity: when there’s deception involved. Call it selective disclosure or what you will, but the principle is simple: if there’s nothing to hide, why hide it? (And if your answer to that question is somewhere along the lines of “S/he won’t understand if I tell her/him”, then you should be redirecting your energy into fixing that part of the relationship, instead of thinking of different ways to deceive.)

Those of you who have been through this will know that the hardest part is not the shock of discovery. It’s picking up the pieces and deciding whether to move on or move out. Forgiving is easy, forgetting is not. And then there’s also the insurmountable obstacle of rebuilding the trust that was shattered if you choose to stay.

“It was a mistake,” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.” ~ David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

Well, I made the choice to forgive him when he apologized. Even then, the apology was begrudging as he maintained that all he was doing was having ‘a bit of fun’, that she was just a ‘distraction’. Well, his ‘bit of fun’ cost me nearly 4kgs in weight-loss and a whole lot more in pride and self-confidence while I grieved over the loss of an innocence I had about relationships. It took me close to nine months before I could think about it without my heart and stomach tying itself into knots, before the memories became devoid of the searing pain and bitterness that used to accompany them, before that modicum of trust was finally allowed to piece itself back together again.

In the aftermath of the discovery, I toughened up. I didn’t become cynical about love, but I did become less idealistic. I learned to protect myself, and realized that in order to reclaim the happiness that I had lost, I have to stop worrying about what other people might think and do what I think is right – for myself and for what I hold dear. I realized that this is MY life and if I don’t safeguard the things that matter, no one else will, and if there’s collateral damage along the way, what can I say except that you should not have strayed from your path in the first place (pun fully intended!). It was a painful lesson, but what I gained then helped me many years later when I had to make even tougher decisions in my life.

I started this post fully with the intention of sharing a first-hand account of my experience, and I will refrain from going off-tangent into a spiel about why ‘thou shalt not cheat’ – after all, I have been guilty of overlapping the ending and beginning of my first two relationships back during my college days so I’m definitely in no position to preach. Instead, allow me to end this post with an excerpt from one of my favorite books – a very raw yet true quote that exemplifies the pain of finding out.

“Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. This isn’t about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned.”  ~ David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

pinterested?

29 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

Here’s a pretty good guide to Pinterest from Mashable. It’s being touted as one of the upcoming social sites and while I signed up for it awhile back, I never really started exploring it until recently.

Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network.

I’ve yet to create any boards…following the ones that some of my friends have created is more than enough to hold my attention for now!

a flash mob with a twist.

28 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

Whoever said timing is everything was right! I happened to be walking past the concourse area at Sunway Pyramid when I noticed a small crowd gathered around the area and more people leaning against the balcony at the floors above.

The first thought that entered my mind was, “Looks like a flash mob’s about to happen…” and within minutes, the music started blaring and a few people emerged from the crowd and started dancing.

This is the first time I’ve ever walked right into a flash mob, so naturally I reached into my bag and pulled out my phone to record the whole performance. Had to break the video into parts while uploading though, because silly me changed the recording angle of the phone from vertical to horizontal halfway through the performance… #fail.

And, baby, everything that I have is yours
You will never go cold or hungry
I’ll be there when you’re insecure
Let you know that you’re always lovely, girl
‘Cause you are the only thing that I got right now

One day when the sky is fallin’
I’ll be standing right next to you, right next to you
Nothing will ever come between us
‘Cause I’ll be standing right next to you, right next to you

Romeo save me I’ve been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring

And said, marry me Juliet
You’ll never have to be alone
I love you and that’s all I really know
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress
It’s a love story baby just say yes

I love how the crowd just went wild with applause when everyone realized it was a marriage proposal and then the music segues into Colbie Caillat’s ‘I Do’ when she said yes!

You make we wanna say
I do, I do, I do, do do do do do do doo

And yes, I teared up too (hence the shaky filming towards the end)!

The participants of the flash mob performed an encore, much to the delight of everyone there:

Ah, what a lovely lunchtime surprise to brighten up the day…I drove back to the office with a silly grin on my face. Here’s wishing the newly-engaged couple all the best!

a year of holidays.

27 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

I seem to be consumed with wanderlust this year, oftentimes planning for the next trip even before we’ve even embarked on the upcoming one. While I fervently wish that 2012 would continue in the same vein, I have a feeling my bank account will be putting up a serious outcry!

In lieu of a delayed detailed and individual post on each holiday that we’ve been on, allow me to share with you some of my favorite photographs taken during each vacation (mainly scenic, for privacy purposes, heh!).

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Feb 2011 – The Langkawi Valentine’s Celebration

Our hotel @ The Danna

The view from the room

The spectacular sunset we were lucky enough to witness

 

May 2011 – Gold Coast, baby!

Where we stayed

Incredible sunset

At Byron Bay

The beach at Surfer’s Paradise

Aug 2011: Fabtastic Koh Samui

Matching Havaianas on the beach!

I was taking a pic of something I wrote in the sand when the boyfriend snapped this

Maximum R&R was the order of the day

One of our little discoveries during the round-island tour – a peaceful and quiet temple situated on top of a small hill, overlooking the sea

Nov 2011: Magical Chiang Mai

At the gorgeous Wat Phra Doi Suthep

Enjoying the sunset as we made our way through the Saturday night market

The street where we stayed

MO Rooms, one REALLY quirky hotel!

Dec 2011: Singapore Sling!

The ArtScience Museum

Taken outside the Titanic exhibition – one of my favorite photos from the trip

wonder full – a light and water spectacular @ marina bay sands.

21 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

We caught this on our first night in Singapore – supposedly South East Asia’s largest water and light show – at the Marina Bay waterfront.

Behind the scenes (from the MBS website)

The soundtrack is broadcast live and on 103.9FM – the official radio station of Marina Bay Sands.

Singaporeans Iskander Ismail and Daryl Ang arranged and conducted the original sound score, which was recorded by a 140-piece orchestra.

LaserVision, the creator of the multi-display-media attraction, controls its technical wizardry down to the millisecond. It took three years and 100 architectural, design, creative, musical, engineering, technical and IT specialists to develop the show.

If you love bubbles like I do, check out 7:21mins and 11:38mins when the sky is totally filled with it. It was so magical and I felt like a small kid, mouth agape and in awe when all the bubbles floated past.

Do check out 9:30mins too. That’s when ‘What a Wonderful World’ starts playing – they say music completes and emotes a show, and that’s very very true. I could’ve stood there all night, swaying to that song, watching the bubbles float on by.

A wonderful ending to a wicked night.

the singapore misadventure.

21 Dec 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s as if Murphy’s law was hard at work. Here’s a run-down of the good, the mediocre and the ugly – in reverse order.

The Ugly:

1. The rain, oh, the rain! Dismal weather plagued us all throughout the whole trip – plans for a day out at Universal Studios (not to mention two pre-purchased express passes) were literally washed away by the alternate drizzle and thunderstorm that went on for 2 whole days !

2. The disappointment that was Marina Bay Sands.

  • Checking-in was a horror – I understand that it’s a big hotel, but I have never seen so many people queuing up to check-in, EVAH!
  • The lady at the check-in counter offered us complimentary breakfast during our stay – YAY! We had to call the reception twice to get the charges for the breakfast (SGD90 yo!) struck off our bill – NAY! Breakfast was very normal – some of the food from the hot buffet was cold!
  • To be perfectly honest – the room was Not. Worth. The. Moolah. It’s nice, but not great. Toiletries provided were run-in-the-mill (in contrast, Royal Plaza on Scotts provide their guests with L’occitane toiletries).
  • The highly anticipated Skypark – I think it’s overhyped. Again, yes, it’s nice, but not great. Walking from one end to the other was a pain – the walkways were narrow and crowded with people. Two of the four hot tubs were closed for repairs.

3. The horrible bout of food poisoning that I suffered for one full day. I have since attributed that to the Eggs Benedict I had at TWG @ MBS – the last meal I had before the nightmare began. Strangely enough, the last time I had such a bad episode was also in Singapore – now that’s irony for you – surviving Chiang Mai street food yet being done in when dining in Singapore.

The Mediocre.

1. KU DÉ TA – I have to give them props for their exceptionally polite waiters and waitresses and the speed in which the food was served. They even offered me a shawl in light of the cold temperature in the restaurant. The atmosphere was so-so, but I guess that’s because we were all stuck indoors due to the heavy downpour. The food was not too bad – love their steamed palm sugar cake with caramelized bananas and salted caramel cream.

2. PS Cafe – We noticed this place at Dempsey Hill the last time we visited, and I made a mental note to try it out. Sadly, the Big Bacon & Eggs and Brunch Burger that we both ordered was a let-down. Lovely ambience tho…do sit outside at the terrace if you visit.

3. Wild Honey – This is falling into the mediocre category merely because the bout of food poisoning left me wary of poached eggs and I could not have my usual order of their European breakfast. I ended up with the Canadian breakfast, consisting of pancakes, maple syrup and berry compote which was very meh.

4. Getting stuck in a butt-numbing traffic jam en-route to Singapore due to an accident where the car crashed through the side divider along the highway and went tumbling down a ditch. Watching the petrol tank with an eagle eye on the way back because we missed one major rest area and couldn’t refuel. Taking a ridiculously long detour when we reached PJ because Federal Highway was all jammed up at 11pm at night.

The Good.

1. Without doubt, WICKED THE MUSICAL. Worth every penny spent. I loved the book by Gregory Maguire, and the musical definitely did not disappoint. The cast, the repertoire, the emotions that it evoked was absolutely amazing and I left the show still buzzing on a high. If you haven’t watched it, try to catch the one that’s showing at Singapore NOW.

2. Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum (SGD21).

Step on board RMS Titanic for the first time in Southeast Asia, and experience the majestic and dramatic maiden voyage of the iconic Ship almost 100 years after it set sail in 1912. The Exhibition takes visitors through the Ship’s conception, construction, sailing day, life on board, the famous iceberg, Titanic‘s sinking, the discovery of the wreck, while all throughout telling the incredible stories of her passengers and crew.

With a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger onboard the Titanic, embark on the journey through about 275 authentic artifacts – of which 14 have never been seen before – such as china etched with the logo of the elite White Star Line, sheet music and jewelry items, and extensive re-creations of the First and Third Class Cabins, the Grand Staircase, Boiler Room and other locations on Titanic. Finally, find out how the sinking of the great Ship strongly resonated in Singapore at the “Singapore 1912” gallery.

Kudos to the organizers of the exhibition. It was haunting, to say the least, to see relics from the ship that has survived 100 years below the ocean. We weren’t allowed to take photos within the exhibition hall, however, guests were presented with two photo ops – one ala Titanic (the movie) where we did the corny arms-spread-out pose (I couldn’t stop giggling), and another at the Grand Staircase where we tried to emulate the chin-up, shoulders-back posture of the aristocracy (#fail). We did not purchase the photos in the end, tho. Highlight of the exhibition for me was when we reached the replica of the promenade deck of the Titanic – you could lean across the balcony and stare into the distance at the twinkling stars or look down into the ghostly pitch-black ocean while feeling the cool ocean breeze on your cheeks. Yes, the props felt that real.

3. Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery – I finally stumbled upon a pocket of time where the queue at Ippudo did not stretch beyond the entrance (the previous time we walked past, the queue snaked past till the end of the walkway and doubled back!), and gleefully dragged the boyfriend in with promises along the lines of ‘this is the best ramen in Singapore’. A short wait later, we had two steaming bowls of noodles right in front of us and it smelt heavenly! I had the Akamaru Kasaneaji – a very hearty and flavorful broth mixed with blended miso paste and garlic oil. The boy had the Karaka Chashu, which came with spicy miso paste and simmered pork belly. The only slight complaint I have is that the soup was slightly on the salty side, which kept us reaching for the cold tea we ordered. Nevertheless, this is definitely a place I want to re-visit when we come back.

4. What’s Singapore without some shopping, eh? My top picks from my shopping loot: a fuschia MBMJ bag from the FW11 collection, and strangely enough, four hard-boiled egg shapers from Taka (to entice the appetite of my lil’ princess) AND a banana slicer that’ll ermm…cut a banana into slices in seconds (ooohhh boys beware!).

5. And as always, my awesome traveling companion who gladly gives up his time to accompany me on trips and lets me do and go wherever I want without any complaints. The defining moment when I knew how well-versed he now is with my traveling quirks, eg. my predilection for photographing everything I eat when we travel, was when his steaming hot bowl of noodles arrived on our table at Ippudo and he placed his chopsticks on the bowl, pushed the bowl slightly to the front, and waited patiently for me to take a photo. I’m sure many of you would agree that it’s truly a joy traveling with a significant other who’s always upbeat and uncomplaining, and always more than willing to go with the flow (not to mention one who gives in to all your whims and fancies heh!).

We’ll be back, Singapore. There’s still Universal Studios to conquer!

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