Categories
Personal

Mornings, scents

It’s 8:29 am on a Monday.

As I gently open my eyes, I hear the door close. Tired, I rest my eyelids by shutting them and then I flip the position of my head so the other side of my face is resting on the pillow. It’s warm. I shift my head to rest on PJ’s pillow. It’s higher, cooler, crisp. It makes me smile.

A few minutes more of this shouldn’t hurt.

I try to block out thoughts about emails and Slack. I have some time before 9:00 am. There’s no commute to worry about. Only getting a few more minutes. As these minutes roll on, it’s a routine of hitting snooze on that irritating iPhone alarm. I start to hear the voices of my housemates. Doors opening, closing. The doors are heavy in our apartment.

It’s 9:05 am. I sit up in bed and lift my laptop off the office table that sits right next to the bed. I flip open my seven year-old laptop which still works pleasantly fast. Pop in a few passwords and I’m in.

My work day has begun.

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It was only yesterday when I came to terms with wearing a surgical mask in public. I remember two things. Where will I get my supply of masks? Is the N95 mask overkill? I only have one N95 in my cabinet. (In 2020, #SGHaze now looks like a drop in the ocean.)

I didn’t have a supply of masks in the first few weeks of the pandemic. They were flying off the shelves at the time. It got so bad that I accepted an offer from a nurse I had dated… who had access to masks. He offered me a box. How bizarre it was to walk into a Starbucks in Sengkang so he could pass to me surgical masks. I didn’t know how to feel. Grateful? Guilty?

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Going back to the scene at home. PJ normally starts his work day before working hours. He likes to get a head start. On Friday evenings and during all of his Saturdays, he’s parked in front of his laptop screen listening to lectures in the living room. PJ started his MBA a few months ago.

I know how busy he can get. When he told me he’s working on his new passion project which is to launch his own YouTube channel, I was excited. And guess what? He made it happen.

Congrats love for launching your first video. ❤

Show him some love by subscribing to his channel!

On scents

Personally, my favourite scents are more subtle in the form of scented candles. I used to buy those from Yankee Candle. But I stopped after the air-condition cleaner said that my a/c filters had turned black (or something) probably because the smoke of the candles added more pollutants into the air. I could be wrong.

I do enjoy good scents.

Categories
Music I Listen To

Songs That Made 2020 Better: Play – CHUNG HA

I’m kicking off a short series of blog posts about music I enjoyed listening to in 2020. The year is one of the toughest and most traumatising on record for billions of people. At the surface, we’re looking at almost 70 million people having been infected by the virus with over 1.5 million deaths as of this date. Diving deeper, industries are shattered and economies will be changed. From unprecedented disruption to global travel to the vulnerable people stuck in quarantine in unsafe homes facing abuse.

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Pop music has always been my antidote through the years. K-pop uplifted my spirits when I was at my lowest in recent years. I’ve come to love BTS, SUNMI, HWA SA… and they’re the ones in the front right now. Behind them is a massive K-pop industry with “generations” of artists and fans. While I may not always agree with the ultra-glossy “perfect image” used to market the stars, I turn to the overall production. K-pop pushes that bar higher and higher.

Several of my favourite K-pop songs this year came from CHUNG HA. As you go through her playlist of releases in 2020, it’s like she had a song for each season of the year. MV after MV of lights and fairy dust, her signature hand choreography (HAND CHOREO?!?)… the dancers, men in heels. Her angle and spins like Kylie Minogue. Is she one of the best solo K-pop performers of the year?

What happens before a release are comeback teasers. Then there’s a full-blown MV. Then there’ll be a “Dance Performance” version of the MV. This means less vanity shots and more choreography. The performer then does the whole circuit of promotions: tv shows, events, awards specials. In cases like BTS, the Japanese version of their songs. It’s one well-orchestrated extravaganza.

Today, I’ll share with you the dance performance video to CHUNG HA’s “Play”. 🙂

What’s a song that made 2020 better for you?

Update: As of this writing, CHUNG HA is down with COVID-19. This is insane. Please get well!

Categories
Advocacy

December 1 is World AIDS Day

Stigma and discrimination are still the biggest barriers to an AIDS-free world. In the next ten years, we will advocate for anti-discrimination laws at the national and local levels to make sure that everyone gets access to lifesaving services regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. #SOGIEEqualityNow #PassADBNow #EndAIDS2030 #HeadshotClinic @TheRedWhistle @PremiereCondoms

Categories
Singapore

So, we’ve reached the end of the year

The most relatable cover. (The New Yorker)

The coronavirus will not expire on 31st December. But I bet we wish it could.

I’m comfortable. I’m working from home. I can exercise from home. I can order lunch and dinner to be brought to my doorstep. I can press a few buttons to have groceries delivered. I can chat with friends and loved ones through Zoom. Movies, TV series, music, concerts… all of it can be streamed online.

I admit my privilege in this pandemic. I’m not a front-liner in a hospital who is overworked and under-equipped. I don’t work in the travel or aviation industries. I still have a job.

For the sake of mental health, I promised to myself that I won’t worry about what’s going to happen after a few months. The only thing I will let myself think about is the agenda and the intention for the day ahead. The agenda is to get work done. The intention is to be easy on myself. I’m not a scientist and I’m not going to cure the world from a pandemic.

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Intentions for December 2020

  • Keep working out and practicing yoga. Six times weekly.
  • Finish reviewing a friend’s book – I’m so bad at reading books.
  • Get started on Becoming – another book, given to me by my brother
  • Start dance classes via Steezy. Commit when possible after the WOD/yoga.
  • Launch my podcast series before the end of the year.
  • Publish at least five more video blogs.
  • Terminate subscriptions I no longer need.
  • Complete a budget plan for 2021. Listing possibilities, limitations.
  • Send out gifts to friends and family.
  • Take PJ to see snow at Jewel Changi Airport.
  • Enjoy Korean BBQ at home. With a grill.
Categories
Singapore

My November 2020 Photo Recap

A pandemic continues to grip the world. This was my third month in our new house in Pasir Ris. Home is where everything is right now. Meals, workouts, and work. I have no plans to change any of that until this pandemic is over.

The past month also saw some triumphs. Biden beat Trump and is the President-elect. I published my first interview with a journalist. I completed workout sessions and yoga practices.

I’ll leave the rest in pictures.

There is hope.

Categories
Singapore Video

iPhone 12 unboxing… while drinking soju

Gaaah. I filmed this a month ago. But I only got to editing it over the weekend. I’ve had an iPhone 7 since 2016… so getting an upgrade in 2020 is WORTH IT. Face ID? Charging without a cord? Portrait mode that WORKS? Those are no longer strange and foreign concepts for me. Lol.

Enjoy the video. It’s NOT meant to be taken seriously. 😛

Drink moderately.

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Categories
Singapore

Monthsary Location: The Sushi Bar at TAmpines 1

PJ and I celebrated our monthsary at The Sushi Bar (Tampines 1).

The Sushi Bar is located on level 4 of Tampines 1 mall.

I made reservations by sending them an SMS a few days back. I was excited to take PJ for a sushi restaurant experience (compared to our usual conveyor belt sushi). Plus, The Sushi Bar is only one MRT station away.

The restaurant covers two levels. I think this is kind of unusual for a neighbourhood Singaporean shopping mall to have a staircase within a restaurant. A restaurant that’s already on the fourth floor. I could be wrong.

As with how everything else looks like at this point in 2020, the restaurant follows social distancing measures. Tables are marked and groups are separated by more than a meter from each other. I also noticed the staff were religiously sanitising tables after they were cleared.

Masks are to be removed only while eating and drinking. This is the standard everywhere. I also noticed that the chopsticks and tissues were packed in plastic.

PJ wanted to try the beef rice bowl (Gyudon) while I went for the Salmon Aburi Roll. We also wanted to try “sardine sheets” as an appetiser as well as enoki mushrooms wrapped in beef strips and chicken skewers (yakitori).

I was going to order sashimi as my “round 2” but I already got full from the salmon aburi roll and the two tiny plates of grilled meat and mushrooms. The appetiser was perfectly bitin (leaves you wanting more).

Overall, I feel The Sushi Bar at Tampines 1 is exactly what it is. A sushi restaurant that is built inside of a shopping mall. The ambiance was a nice shot (the sushi bar as you enter). But inside, it becomes quite standard. What I’m saying is… for this price point, I think you would expect a little more ambiance. Perhaps dim lighting. Service was kind and efficient.

Food tasted fine. It saves you a trip from going all the way into the Central Business District (which would take upwards to an hour from Tampines and Pasir Ris). That includes walking to the restaurant and getting settled in. Having The Sushi Bar in Tampines is convenient and the menu offerings are good enough.

Now I’m craving for a full Omakase experience. ❤

Election Day 2020 is Here

Former VP Joe Biden takes on incumbent President Trump

I voted for Biden.

Categories
Singapore

Back-to-Back British

You can be any of these two versions below. It’s perfectly fine. It’s only human.

SAM SMITH – KIDS AGAIN

LITTLE MIX – HAPPINESS

Categories
Bekpackr Episodics Video

Unwrapping Perk Coffee Drip Bags

With more time indoors and away from crowds, I wanted to try a subscription-based coffee service. A colleague recommended I try Perk, which delivers freshly roasted coffee straight to your doorstep. Plus, an opportunity to try using a coffee drip bag for the first time.

Here’s a new video, enjoy!